A day in their scrubs
Hometown: I was born in Tehran, Iran, and my family immigrated to Singapore when I was 4 years old. After graduating junior college in 12th grade, I immigrated to the United States and moved to Frisco, Texas. I then lived in Austin for three years, with my mom and sister joining me the last year. I have lived in Dallas for the past four years. I would consider both Tehran and Singapore my hometowns. My grandparents are still living in Tehran, and I spent my formative years in Singapore.
Undergrad institution: I attended Collin College and graduated with an Associate of Science in 2013. I transferred to the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Arts in 2016.
Why Texas A&M College of Dentistry: Since I knew at age 11 that I wanted to be a dentist, all of my academic decisions were made with this in mind. While living in Frisco, I was able to visit Texas A&M College of Dentistry and met Dr. Ali Bolouri, who graciously gave me a mini tour of the school. That day reinvigorated my passion for dentistry and I became determined to get accepted to the school. While at UT, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Barbara Miller and visit the school again, as well as the other two Texas schools. Even though the other schools had newer buildings, I never forgot the homey feeling I felt the moment I walked into what is now the old building. Eventually, Impressions Day in 2015 sealed my choice for me. That day, I had the opportunity to meet dental students from each class, meet more professors, and learn more about the school and dentistry as a career. When it came time to choose a dental school, I chose Texas A&M because I knew it was where I would get the best education, learn from the kindest and most knowledgeable professors, and make amazing memories with wonderful, lifelong friends.
Dental school success strategy: Mental Health Awareness Month is coming up in May, and I want to take this chance to talk about the importance of mental health. Personally, I have dealt with mental health issues since D1 year. My success strategy has been to be open about the issues I am going through and to not be shy to seek help. Going into dental school, I knew I was blessed with an amazing support system in my family and friends, but I also found an amazing support system in my professors and school administrators. Dental school is hard and unlike any other academic experience any of us have ever gone through. By sharing this, I hope other dental students will realize they are definitely not alone and should not be afraid to reach out and get help when they need it.
Favorite energy food: When I am home, I like to eat a mix of nuts—cashews, almonds, pistachios—with raisins. But when I am on the go in clinic, I usually eat a mini chocolate bar. Most days I also start off my morning with a cup of coffee or tea.
How you unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: I unwind by doing some stretches, which I found helps with any muscle tension in my neck and back. I also take a hot shower, eat—especially if I did not get to eat lunch—take a nap, talk to my mom and sister, and watch some shows or hang out with friends.
Best dental school moment so far: My best dental school moments involve service, either dental related or non-dental related. If I had to choose one, it would be the weeklong volunteering trip to Tyler, Texas, last summer. It was an amazing experience being able to care for so many patients, improving my skills, doing more each day than we are able to in a single day in the school clinic, and hanging out with schoolmates for an entire week. I will also never forget when one of my patients thanked me and told me that I was meant to help people through dentistry.
Another highlight of my dental school experience was being featured in Dentistry Insider (“‘Big’ Benefits and ‘Little’ Blessings” – April 2019) as part of my dental family here in school, and this article as well.
Favorite patient care experience: One of my patients is a male in his 40s who had a terrible car accident where he broke his neck. Although we had hoped to save some of his teeth, we soon realized the best course of treatment would be full upper and lower dentures. He remained resilient through his extraction appointments, and we eventually got to work on fabricating his dentures. One of the highlights of dental school and my favorite patient care experience was him trying his dentures for the first time. He looked in the mirror and we were both so happy that we ended up crying together. It is an absolute blessing and privilege to be able to make people happy and smile.
Goal after graduation: I am staying on as an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) resident. I hope that an AEGD program will help bridge the gap between dental school and general practice, as well as help mold me into a well-rounded general dentist. I am also not ruling out specializing in the future. My long-term dental career plans include working at a community dental clinic after residency graduation and possibly establishing my own clinic in a community with a high dental need. I would also like to work at a dental college as an associate professor. I aim to continue volunteering at local events frequently and hopefully in mission events abroad as well.
What people may not know about you: I love puzzles. One way my family and I spend time together is by completing jigsaw puzzles, and I complete a mini New York Times crossword puzzle every day. Also, I grew up speaking Farsi, but I really wanted to learn how to read and write it. I jumped at the chance to do just that at UT because I didn’t know when I would ever get the chance again.