#T4DWest Day 4: Re-energized!
To be or not to be, that is the question… I just sat down with a pre-dental student at one of our tour stops, for blog purposes I will refer to her a “Maria”. Maria indicated that she felt discouraged by her pre-health advisor. Maria said that when she approached her advisor and asked why more minority students did not apply to the local dental school, the reply was “they do not like to move from their families.” She thought that her advisor’s response was not accurate, considering as she looked around at the staff in the dental school, most of them were from a minority background. She thought how could “we” not want to leave our families could, yet “we” work here. She was also told that minorities are not really interested in healthcare fields, and she should consider another option based upon her “background.” The student almost did not attend our workshop due to her discouraging advisor, but reluctantly still held on to her dream. After Maria heard a lecture I led on “Applying to Medical and Dental School”, and saw all underrepresented minority speakers, she told me she is now RE-ENERGIZED!
I explained that there are many factors that may deter underrepresented minorities (URM) from pursuing dentistry, however enrichment programs such as Tour for Diversity in Medicine, aim to help increase the percentage of URM dentists and physicians. I was able to inform Maria of various summer enrichment programs, link her to a local dental professional, and discuss the importance of “her story.” Maria told me that she comes from a disadvantaged background, and most of her friends live destructive lifestyles. She indicated that she is the only one from her neighborhood that was remotely interested in attending college. She believes that the only way to better her community is to find a profession that could allow her to give back and help to improve the health and mentality of her community. Maria wants to become a professional to help encourage other minorities to join the healthcare profession. I stated that everything she mentioned were also reasons that I became a dentist and participate in the Tour. Additionally, I showed her how to work her background into her personal statement, and how to weave it into her dental school application and interview. Maria left motivated and prepared to tackle the dental admissions process.
I am glad that I was able to encourage Maria. I is moments like these that help to Re-Energize ME on a 7-day bus Tour away from my husband and children!
Who knows, Maria might one day be the “new” dental mentor for Tour for Diversity in Medicine!!
Good Luck Maria!! Looking forward to seeing you in the dental field soon!