A day in their scrubs
Hometown: I was born in Lahore, Pakistan, but my family moved to the U.S. when I was 4 years old. I’ve lived in Detroit; Little Rock, Arkansas; and a rural town in southeast Arkansas named Warren. Now I call Dallas my home.
Undergrad institution: I studied neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas (whoosh).
Why Texas A&M College of Dentistry: I decided to pursue dentistry around my sophomore year in college. Every dentist I shadowed spoke highly of “Baylor’s” dental college. Our school has a long-standing reputation for graduating outstanding clinicians. When I finally got a chance to visit Texas A&M College of Dentistry, I felt at home. Everyone was so friendly, and the student body was incredibly diverse.
If I could go back in time, I would make the same decision in a heartbeat. I couldn’t imagine going through dental school without the camaraderie and support I’ve gotten from my peers. It’s the people that make the school, and we have amazing people.
Dental school success strategy: My key to success has always been a good night’s sleep. It’s tough to prioritize sleep with all the exams. But if you take care of your body, it’ll take care of you. With eight hours under your belt and a positive attitude, you can take on the world.
Favorite energy food: Apples and peanut butter.
How you unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: It’s especially important to find a healthy way to de-stress and declutter your mind in dental school. I usually try to meditate, lift weights or practice yoga to unwind. On my especially long days, I’ll order some Thai food and watch a movie or relax in a hammock and watch the sunset. Staring at a huge, flaming ball of gas really puts things into perspective.
Best dental school moment so far: Our class has a pretty competitive fantasy football league. As a punishment for getting last place, my friend Walter had to wear pink scrubs for a week. Seeing my friend walk into the sim lab wearing HOT PINK scrubs started every morning with a good laugh. He’s a great sport and probably one of the most helpful guys I know. It’s nice that we can joke around like that.
Favorite patient care experience: I had been working with a patient for months on getting him upper and lower immediate dentures (where he gets his teeth extracted and the dentures delivered the same day). The week that I was scheduled to deliver them, our school closed because of COVID. He patiently waited for months for us to reopen so he could get his smile back. After an intense and difficult appointment where I extracted all of his remaining teeth, I was finally able to deliver his dentures. When he saw how they looked in his mouth, he said that his new teeth reminded him of his mom’s smile. It was an amazing feeling, and I felt validated that my profession can really make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Goal after graduation: I want to practice dentistry in Dallas. I live in Irving, but I don’t mind driving. I enjoy extractions and working with dentures. My long-term goal is to practice three days a week and come back to school to teach part time two days a week.
What people may not know about you: I used to play chess competitively. My mom taught me how to play when I was 4 years old. I was once the highest-ranked high school chess player in Arkansas.