A day in their scrubs
Sometimes Patrick Foadey just has to get away. Occasionally, this needs to be somewhere thousands of miles removed: Rome, Nice and Prague will do the trick. He’s not afraid of a little hard work to make it happen.
But Foadey doesn’t just vacation to faraway places. He’s lived on another continent. When he was 6, Foadey’s family relocated to Austin, Texas, from Burkina Faso, Africa, after a string of moves made to avoid civil war in the Ivory Coast where he was born.
“It was difficult because we had to adapt to the culture here. I was bullied early on as a kid, and that really impacted my personality for the better,” Foadey says. “I realized that if I had the opportunity to impact other people’s lives, I wanted to shed positive light and energy.”
Dentistry is one conduit. Foadey settled on the field after undergoing extensive orthodontic work during his high school years, something he opted to pay for on his own, along with his overseas travel.
“I seriously worked four jobs at one point in time: I was a certified nursing assistant, I worked at H-E-B as a cashier, at Sonic, and cut grass in my spare time,” Foadey recalls.
“The orthodontics transformed my smile and made me appreciate what a smile can do for self-confidence,” says Foadey. “Just being able to freely communicate with people. Even though we all speak different languages, being able to share a confident smile, I feel like that’s a universal language we can all appreciate.”
Undergrad institution: I started out at Austin Community College. I transferred over to the University of Texas — hook ’em. It’s been interesting going from UT to A&M. I bleed orange, so that’s still in the veins for sure.
Why Texas A&M College of Dentistry: Growing up I wore braces for three or four years, and I had a complex case. That allowed me to see specialists in different fields of dentistry. I honestly had such a great experience with all of them. One of the things they had in common was they were all “Baylor” graduates. They were all honest, compassionate and made sure I was well taken care of; that made me look to here as a school that I wanted to be a part of once I decided to pursue dentistry.
Dental school success strategy: Here at school, you’re challenged every day. You don’t know everything, but you keep pressing forward, because you know it’s going to connect to something else down the line. You can’t get too high, and you can’t get too low; you just have to appreciate the moment.
Favorite energy food: There’s nothing like a cold sip of kombucha in the morning. It tastes great, and it’s good for you. It’s an acquired taste. I’ve recommended it to some folks, and after a while you’ll enjoy it. There’s a lot of good stuff in there.
How you unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: I am a former athlete, so I’m just used to exercise and routine. So, at 5:30 or 6 each night I have to be at the gym. I go three to four times a week for about an hour. It’s a great atmosphere for me mentally, and it allows me to decompress and reflect on my day, and kind of revitalize and re-energize. Once I go to the gym, I find energy. I go on the stair master for about 10 minutes, get the blood going, get the sweat going, and then it’s on. I built that routine for so many years now that I just feel guilty whenever I don’t go. At 5:30 today, I’ll be at the gym for sure.
Best dental school moment so far: D1 was a fire hydrant of information, and it was just hard to wrap it all up to see where everything connected. I feel like with second year now I am really starting to appreciate what we learned. These preclinical classes really teach you things that you are going to build on for years to come. One thing that I notice is that you are going to be thrown a lot of information, but it is for a reason, and it is going to help you with future opportunities once you get into clinic.
Favorite patient care experience: My mentor is Anthony Mendez ’04, and when I was being mentored, one of the most profound experiences I had started out with a patient who initially was not willing to even open her mouth. By the end of her multisession treatment, however, her self-confidence was restored so much that she declared she had thought she would never have her smile again. She was so excited, and I realized that I, too, was super excited about her transformation. That was a very special moment for all of us. I want to be able to offer that happiness to patients. It was awesome; it was something I was able to connect with, too.
Goal after graduation: My preferred choice would be going back to Austin because of family; I’m very close with my family. We are in constant contact almost every day. I don’t see myself too far from them, but I’m also open to opportunities in Dallas.
What people may not know about you: I really enjoy the opportunity to travel. It is something I do almost every year to recenter and keep myself grounded. It is something I do not take for granted. My desire for adventure motivates and allows me to reflect on how fortunate I am. I hope to transition this appreciation for travel towards serving communities internationally as well.
After graduating, I hope to go on a backpacking trip with my brothers. In 2012, the last one I went on was to France to visit family and then Spain, and Italy. We went to six countries and 13 cities in 2.5 weeks. We were sleeping on the train, and I was pretty much napping every opportunity I got. It was super exciting, though, because in some places, for example in Venice, we only spent four hours there, and we saw most of the city, and then flash, on to the next one. It was cool to be able to experience that with my brothers.