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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Thursday, Sep. 19

The longest day ever. We got assigned a group project on using evidence-based dentistry to answer a question that a patient could ask a dentist. Then we sat through several presentations on campus services such as safety, student health, and financial aid. Then we got a little rehearsal on how the white coat ceremony was going to go the next day. We got free lunch again, this time courtesy of CDA (though I was getting pretty tired of sandwiches at this point – but I guess I shouldn’t complain about free food!).

After lunch, we finally got introduced to one of the biggest course streams of our first year, biomedical sciences. The course director, Dr. McMaster, came to talk to us a little about the course. Some D2’s also came to give us some advice about the class. After that we went into the anatomy lab with our lab groups. I really like my group and I’m looking forward to working with them on our cadaver. We also got our bone boxes! So basically right now I have half a skeleton and about 100 teeth in the apartment.

That evening we also had a scholarship reception. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to UCSF, and although it was a small amount, I still really appreciate it. I still remember on December 3rd, waiting all day hoping for a call from UCSF, until I almost lost hope when my phone still hadn’t rung in the late afternoon. Then I got the call from Dean Featherstone telling me that I had gotten accepted and had received a scholarship. I was so so happy. I knew that as an international student applying to a state school, the odds were stacked against me. So I have a lot of gratitude for UCSF for not only accepting me but also for being the only school that offered me any form of financial assistance.

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After the reception, some friends and I dropped by an event held by one of the 3 fraternities at the dental school, Delta Sigma Delta. I chatted with some current members and everyone was really nice and helpful! When I finally got home for the day I was so tired from this long day. So I just showered and then slept – need my beauty sleep for the white coat ceremony the next day!

Friday, Sep. 20

My group met up at 9am to discuss how we were going to approach our little project. Then we had a panel with 4 UCSF alumni who talked to us about their experiences at UCSF and beyond. We also had the chance to talk to the alumni in person after the panel and they all offered a lot of insight and perspective into what our paths might look like after graduation.

Then it was finally time for our white coat ceremony! We got our coats outside the auditorium and then lined up to go inside. Dr. Perry, Dean Featherstone, and Dr. Hipona (the president of the alumni association) each gave an address. Then came the keynote speech given by Dr. Ho. It was undoubtedly the most moving and unforgettable speech I had ever heard. Dr. Ho told us an incredible story about him and a patient and his family. By the end half the audience was weeping, myself included. (I was trying really hard not to cry because I didn’t want to mess up my makeup. Failed anyway.) Dr. Ho did not have any notes at all and you can tell that he spoke from his heart. His keynote address was met with a full standing ovation. I felt privileged to have had him as our keynote speaker and faculty member, and I cannot think of a better speech to inspire us at the beginning of our professional lives. I am certain that Dr. Ho’s words, story, and message will stay with me forever.

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My parents and Yufei came out to see me get my white coat and I was so happy to have them take time out of their day and be there for me. After the ceremony we went across the street for the reception where they had a lot of delicious food and also provided time for more photos. Here’s me with Dean Featherstone!

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And me with my new friends and classmates.

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This was definitely one of the most exciting days of my life so far and it felt amazing to be officially a part of the wonderful profession of dentistry! I’m really happy about my school, faculty (from what I’ve seen so far), and classmates. It’s going to be a wonderful 4 years!

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