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COVID-19: Transitioning in dental school

Like most dental students, I am a go getter. I have a million and one things to get done at any given time but that’s how I choose to live my life, and I love it for that reason! From having a job, to never ending school work and fitting in time for volunteering, I always have something to do. I live for my packed schedule, and just like millions of other Americans, in the span of two weeks the rug had been pulled out from underneath me. In the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had been anxiously watching the news and waiting for the unavoidable truth; it was coming. Within a week I lost my job, classes went online and I could no longer live the social life I once had. I went from worrying about what I would wear out next Friday to worrying about the safety of my parents, grandparents, and so many others. So far, I have spent 10 days straight at home avoiding stores, friends and the outside world. To say that I am bored is an understatement and the transition from my once exciting and busy life has not been an easy one. Of course it is for the best, I truly believe that social distancing is key to help us get through this pandemic, but the truth is that this is hard! It is a new way to learn, interact and ultimately live.

I find it easy to spiral in times like these, continually wondering when the madness will be over, when the cases will start declining, and when it will be safe to just live life again. It is even more strange being away from my classmates. All 93 of us have had every class together for the last two years! Luckily dental school has prepared us well to be open to new ideas and new ways of learning. Like anything, we are making it work! Online classes started Monday, and although it is not your traditional learning environment, I have been enjoying curling up on the couch with my cup of espresso to watch lectures! Even though we were forced into this situation, it gives Buffalo and other dental schools around the country a chance to experiment with this new way of learning. It is easy to ask questions, interact with our professors, and still see our classmates faces. Many of our professors are even offering “happy hours” where our entire class can join a video call and socialize! The students, doctors and administration have all been adapting and willingly accepting of these changes, knowing these efforts will combat the virus and turmoil we are facing. For the first time in a long time, it is easy to appreciate the little things. We are fortunate to live in 2020, where technology allows us to take online classes and continue our education. It is easy to contact our friends and family, Netflix is accessible, and summer is almost upon us! I am grateful for the sense of community I feel here at Buffalo and the way classmates and professors are coming together to support one another. No one said it was going to be easy, but we are going to get through it. Don’t forget to reach out to your loved ones, support local businesses, keep your sense of community strong, and enjoy the break you have from the real world.

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