A Personal Story: Love What You Do and Do What You Love
I am a dentist, and I LOVE what I do! I’m not in love with my career in an idealistic, romantic kind of way … I am in love with my career because it provides me with the opportunity to grow and learn throughout my life, the opportunity to serve others in a meaningful way, and the opportunity to balance a career and motherhood.
Unlike many others, I didn’t grow up knowing that I always wanted to be a dentist; in fact, dentistry was a career choice that I made after deciding that careers in education and in web design were definitely NOT for me. While I enjoyed all of my undergraduate coursework (in African American Studies, Education and Creative Writing), and enjoyed several different administrative jobs including working as an educational web developer, I realized that I had a passion for working with people that just was not being satisfied work at the time.
As the daughter of two physicians who both loved their work, I knew that healthcare was a rewarding career field; however, I also knew firsthand how demanding careers in medicine could be, and knew how difficult it had been for my parents to juggle a myriad of obligations to their patients, coworkers, families, and even to themselves. I was drawn to healthcare, but I was simultaneously cautious about giving up my quality of life and my need for balance in life. In the midst of the struggle to pursue a calling in the healthcare field, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with several dental school faculty members who shared with me their of their craft. After exploring the field and re-examining what I wanted in a career and what dentistry had to offer, I decided that it was a great fit for me and embarked on my journey as a dentist which has thus far included 2 years of post-baccalaureate pre-med courses, 4 years of dental school, and 4 years of active duty military service as a general dentist in the U.S. Army.
In your journey on a career in healthcare, find out what is important to you … What moves you? What are the important things that you need in your life? What motivates you to work even through challenging times? And what are the most important values that you would like to share with your patients? For me, my parents’ love of their craft left a mark on me well into adulthood, and helped to shape my aspirations, as well as to elucidate the aspects of life that I was not willing to compromise in pursuing a career. While I chose not to follow directly in their footsteps, dentistry offers me the opportunity to help my patients to learn how to take better care of themselves, to be proud of their smiles, and to be able to smile more often … for me, my children, and my patients, my work leads us all to happier, healthier lives. And that’s why I love what I do!