As part of our new profile series on dental students and recent graduates, Alicia Briscoe, a third-year student at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, shares her experiences and advice with other dental students around the country.

What’s been most fun in dental school?

Learning about the various aspects of dentistry and how it’s much more than just “teeth,” also, the addition hands-on training. I know that once I start seeing patients this year, I’ll love interacting and growing with them as they receive treatment, and bringing them good oral health!

Most difficult?

The seemingly endless exams and practicals.

Any advice for first-year students?

Never compare, do your best, and have fun. Everyone’s journey is different. Everyone brings different strengths to the table. Because of this, no two people are the same, and there’s no “ideal” student. Comparing yourself to others can be the thief of joy and growth.

I still struggle with accepting that your best is not always going to land the “A”. But, you can’t do better than your best, and if you put in the work, you have every reason to be proud.
Have fun – it’s so important. Our brains need a rest. Make sure to tend to your mental, physical, and emotional health.

Extracurricular activities?

I am currently active in many community service events and clubs. I played volleyball for my school for two years, and participated in two forms of research.

Plans after graduation?

I am hoping to transition into orthodontic residency. Fingers crossed!

What drew you to the field of dentistry?

You can change someone’s life holistically in a seemingly small way and be remembered for a lifetime. Someone’s smile is far more than just looking pretty. We can help improve oral health, which can then improve overall health. When a person is not confident with their smile, it can affect mental and emotional health.

Luckily, in our profession, we can attack all three and improve the health and confidence in our patients.

Most important takeaway so far?

Be patient with yourself. Not everyone was “born with a drill” or is super book smart. Understand and accept that we make mistakes, and this is the perfect time for that. Our hands and the mental connections will develop. We have to be patient and allow things to come together throughout this journey. Learning never stops!