New York University College of Dentistry NYU dental student Ali Farhat credits his parents, both dentists, with teaching him to find a “little ray of happiness” in difficult situations. In this article he shares eight strategies that have guided him on his path to dentistry.

How does NYU dental student Ali Farhat find happiness on the difficult path to dentistry? He shares 8 tips that work for him.

1. Pursue a career that allows you to channel your passions.

Growing up with an extensive background in the arts allowed 23-year-old Ali Farhat to recognize how art and dentistry intertwine. He is passionate about both.

I am a firm believer that dentistry combines both art, science and healthcare beautifully.”

NYU College of Dentistry D3 student Ali Farhat

He offers as evidence the craftsmanship involved in making dentures: “A multitude of minute measurements and precise movements must be taken to secure the perfect fit. These actions are exceptionally similar to those of an artist painting a portrait.”

2. Remain open to inspiration provided by mentors.

Farhat reflects on an early source of inspiration — his parents. Both successful dentists in Roseland, New Jersey, Farhat’s mother and father created a foundation for him, personally and professionally. They have helped him understand that life is about finding that “little ray of happiness” in difficult situations. He credits them with instilling in him discipline, dedication and sincerity — positive traits that will benefit his future life and career.

Everything I am today and what I will become tomorrow is because of them.”

3. Share successes.

Farhat subscribes to the motto “everybody eats,” meaning that as his endeavors thrive, everyone around him should share in that success. The happiness of his loved ones brings Farhat contentment.

4. Be authentic.

 NYU College of Dentistry D3 student Farhat offers sage advice for dental students in their first year.

Be authentic. Be authentic to your peers, your professors, and most importantly, to yourself. Dental school in of itself has the stigma of competitiveness, stress, and difficulty. The last thing you would want to do is lose yourself, become someone you are not, make enemies. Be true to who you are and don’t forget what got you here to begin with.”

NYU College of Dentistry D3 student Ali Farhat

5. Ask for help when you need it.          

Even when difficult aspects of dental school arise, such as the workload, he recommends being patient through the adjustment and asking for help from those with experience.

“Compared to undergrad, dental school is on its own level. As dental students, we have to juggle didactic work, clinical work, patient care, and if you want to, extracurricular activities. For me, the transition from undergrad wasn’t as seamless as I wanted. … I worked my way through this difficulty by asking for help either from upperclassmen or professors.”

6. Seek out study methods and schedules that work for you.

“Through this, I managed to figure out my own study methods and accurate time management schedules. I always carry with me a planner, and use applications like Google Calendar and Notion to properly organize what, when, and how I am studying for classes. Notion provides me with the utilities to adeptly go through work, projects, and general information, while Google calendar allows me to recall the what and when of my responsibilities.”

 7.  Find ways to avoid burnout.     

“I rely on my passions to keep me from burnout in dental school. I am a basketball and soccer fan, so whenever I’m not rewatching my podcasts or memorizing notes, I put up a soccer/ basketball game and just relax. Usually when I’m doing these things, I clear my head and this allows me to have a great study session after,” said Farhat.

8. Use progress as a motivator.

“I stay motivated by regularly reviewing my goals, aspirations and progression. I learned that seeing progress is a great motivator in and of itself, and at the same time, it boosts your self-esteem. Sitting down and looking back at what I have done to get where I am helps me keep momentum.”

Parting advice from NYU D3 dental student Ali Farhat? “Be kind to all!”

After expected graduation with the class of 2023, Farhat plans to attend a prosthodontics residency program, then to pursue a fellowship to become an oral and maxillofacial prosthodontist.

Meanwhile, he’s staying focused on the “little ray of happiness,” and sharing it with others through kindness.

“I have enjoyed the relationships in dental school. The people I’ve met and interacted with from the beginning of my dental school career have been by far the most supportive and most influential people in my life,” said Farhat.

Looking for support as a dental student? NYU D3 Ali Farhat suggests a free members-only program — Benco Select Student

Learn details about a program that grants members instant free access to a Commission on Dental Competency Assessments (CDCA) study guide, free job placement services for personal assistance in connecting with the right post-graduation employment or associateship opportunities and a free subscription to Incisal Edge magazine here.