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THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

The Value in "Going the Extra Mile"

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Each one of us has made remarkable accomplishments. Were it not so, we would have never made the cut to begin our dental education. The application process required years of preparation. Many of us juggled academics, shadowing, service hours, jobs, and anything else on the side to set ourselves apart. It was a long and grueling road. There were times that I was stretched so thin and I would stop and wonder, “Why am I doing all of this?” 


I will argue that the point of prerequisites was not just to jump through hoops, but rather to establish habits of dedication to lifelong learning. It is easy to enter dental school and think, “Alright, I did all the hard work and I’m here. Now I can relax and just get by. Afterall, C’s get degrees.” Do not be so quick to forget the road you travelled to get here. Make the most out of your opportunity.


Any sports fan or athlete can relate to the influence of going the extra mile. For example, basketball games are often won or lost based off of second-chance points. Every last effort can give you the edge. Perhaps your team isn’t shooting too well and they are getting outplayed. There comes a crossroad when they either give up or make a run for the win. Things can turn around in a hurry as players dig deep and fight for every rebound just for the opportunity to outscore their opponents.


This principle applies more to your dental education than you might think. Often things don’t go as planned. Due to my inexperience as a student, I frequently have to repeat steps or correct my work. This is not a failure, but rather an opportunity to make it better the next time. I find that my progress is hindered when I either settle for mediocrity or throw in the towel altogether. Don’t allow things like this to get you down. Put in the extra time and you will eventually become a master of your craft.


Look beyond your school resources for Continuing Education opportunities either online or in person. These courses are often free to students and allow you to pursue specific areas that you are passionate about. Additionally, by showing your interest in Continuing Education, you will become better trained and more marketable as an employee. A good place to start for such resources begins at your local state dental association.


Have you become complacent in your journey? Look around you and I’m sure you will find a fellow classmate that has lost sight of the big picture. In dentistry, you have a remarkable opportunity to make a difference in your patients’ lives. Don’t deny them access to quality care by putting in the bare minimum. Make each day count by going the extra mile.