A day in their scrubs

Meet D3 Jessica Sonnentag
September 22nd, 2020

Hometown: Bentonville, Arkansas

Undergrad institution: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Why Texas A&M College of Dentistry: Arkansas unfortunately does not have a dental school. Luckily, some amazing schools, like Texas A&M College of Dentistry, have a history of accepting Arkansas students. Texas A&M College of Dentistry has a great reputation. As I was shadowing at different offices, the Texas A&M dental alumni were always so proud to represent their alma mater. They stood strongly by the education they received, and it made me excited. The excitement and expectations only built as I interviewed and was wowed by the program. Texas A&M College of Dentistry does a great job of combining a strong preclinical and clinical program. It was this balance that I really liked and ultimately led me to choose Texas A&M.

Dental school success strategy: Don’t let tests rule your life. This was definitely something that was difficult for me to grasp at first because there are SO many exams. At first, if we had tests coming up, I would arrange all my plans around the schedule. Looking back, I ended up missing out on some important things. Now I’ve learned if I have a wedding or birthday coming up where I need to travel, I will make a study plan for the upcoming weeks and get ready for the tests in advance. Then I get the best of both worlds. Also remember to reward yourself in whatever way works for you. It’s really easy to get bogged down with the heavy course load in dental school.

Favorite energy food: Granola bars and dark chocolate!!! Granola bars are lifesavers if you’re a frequent snacker like me. You can eat them really quickly between classes or lab. I also read somewhere that dark chocolate is good for energy because it has some caffeine, so I usually keep some in my backpack to help with the mid-afternoon slump.

How you unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: I am definitely an extrovert. So whether it’s talking on the phone with my mom or catching up with friends over dinner, it really helps me decompress. It can be really draining to take exams, do lab work, or be in clinic every day. It takes a lot of mental focus. So it’s nice to just relax with friends or family.

Best dental school moment so far: It’s hard to think of just one thing, but the best dental school moment so far was probably “stab lab”—when we get to practice giving local anesthesia on each other. I honestly wasn’t looking forward to it originally, but then COVID-19 happened and it was canceled for the time being. I pretty much stressed the entire quarantine about missing it, so when we finally got to practice, it was great. It also didn’t hurt, so that was definitely a plus.

Favorite patient care experience: A patient came in and she was a little bit unhappy with the appointment. She thought we would be doing something else, but we wouldn’t have time. Understandably, she was pretty frustrated. But by the end of the appointment, she completely came around and even told our group leader how great my D4 partner and I were and how much she enjoyed the appointment. It was really special that we were able to turn the appointment around and that she appreciated our efforts. Definitely a feel-good moment.

Goal after graduation: My goal after graduation is to get an associateship with a practicing doctor either in Arkansas or Texas. Then hopefully a few years after that I can buy a practice and make it my own.

What people may not know about you: I have webbed toes!

— Kathleen Green Pothier