When I was younger, I lived with my extended family in Korea. To me, the head of our family was not my father, but rather my grandmother. She was such a strong figure to all of us, including my parents, that no one could ever argue with her or grunt a hint of complaint when she scolded us. However, even she seemed strangely fragile and weak before going to bed, because she was ‘toothless’ by then; every night, she would take out her complete denture, grab it in one hand, brush it with the other hand, and put it in a cup half-filled with water. Naturally, I took an interest in that ‘thing in the cup’, and finally ventured to have a look at it more closely when (while) she was asleep. The fact that such a life-like imitation could exist just struck me as unbelievable and fascinating. And that was the beginning of my later passion for dentistry.
I started to job-shadow a dentist during my undergraduate years for the first time. Four hours a day shadowing seemed to pass by very quickly. Every procedure was so enthralling that I could not help but pay attention throughout. Those sophisticated dental procedures done by the dentist did not just require mere technique, but also extensive scientific knowledge behind each step.
The last two years of work experiences as a dental assistant and receptionist at Dr. XXX’s Dental Clinic really has been the climax of my exploration into dentistry, which crystallized my thoughts and perceptions in a dental career. As a main assistant, I was able to acquire from the basic knowledge to the theories behind the complex procedures. Moreover, the experience as a receptionist helped me improve my understanding of the Canadian dental insurance systems. What was even more fascinating was, that the more I learned about it, the more assured I have become that it was what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.
As a molecular biology and biochemistry (MBB) honors student, I had opportunities to work in various scientific researches at two biopharmaceutical companies as a recipient of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) scholarships. Those work experiences not only taught me how to work independently and responsibly, but also how to co-operate with others through effective communication.
Upon graduation with an MBB honor, my foremost interest was to improve my GPA, because I was fully aware that higher grades along with the excellent history of extracurricular activities I had already had would definitely put me under competitive category when applying for a dental school. In this regards, Master’s program in Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology seemed to be a perfect choice that would both enhance my grades and allow me to gain more practical, healthcare-oriented scientific knowledge. I have been very satisfied with the program and my grades showed a steady upward trend. I have recently started working on my thesis project, since I am expected to finish my graduate studies by the end of the year. For this crucial work, I was fortunate to work with Dr. XXX, who is a full professor at XXX as well as the XXX, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Director of XXX. My project is geared towards the ongoing activity around oral pathology and tissue dissection after individual screenings. I am excited to explore still-undiscovered possibilities in dentistry and learn more about this tremendous field.
I was a teaching assistant (TA) in three different undergrad chemistry courses for four semesters. Initially, I only applied for the position in order to receive financial support for my education. To my surprise, I found myself loving the every aspect of teaching. I never knew that educating groups of younger students could be such a rewarding experience, because I had not much enjoyed private tutoring I had been involved in since I was in Grade 11. Moreover, by the end of every Teaching Assistantship, without an exception, I found myself to be the one who learned and grew the most, and it led me to want to pursue the combined DMD/ PhD program in a dental school. All of those interpersonal/scientific experiences including ? (looks like the sentence is interrupted in the middle)
The co-op workterms, researching in two MBB labs at SFU, and teaching undergraduate students as a TA, rendered evident that I would have to work on my public speaking skills. Since one of my goals was to educate the future dentists, it seemed even more crucial to sharpen my speech with clear articulation and confidence. Accordingly, I recently joined the Toastmaster club, trying actively to get involved in all the activities. I am determined to confront my fear face to face, so hopefully, my worst weakness will be turned into strength in the near future.