A day in their scrubs

Meet D3 Karina Rojas Gomez
November 20th, 2020

Hometown: Murchison, Texas

Undergrad institution: The University of Texas at Tyler

Why Texas A&M College of Dentistry: My mentor who I shadowed in high school was an alum. He spoke very highly of the clinical experience he got while attending what was then known as Baylor College of Dentistry. As I looked more and more at different dental schools, Texas A&M College of Dentistry always had an outstanding reputation for offering their students a lot of hands-on clinic time. Another plus is that it is so close to home that I can always take a trip to visit family if I need to de-stress or start feeling homesick.

Dental school success strategy: My strategy was to always attend class, even if it wasn’t mandatory. Even when you think you aren’t paying that much attention, you catch details that you may miss just listening to the recording. I also focus on one thing at a time. If I have two or three exams in a week, I focus solely on the exam that’s coming up first, then go on from there. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but it definitely helped me not feel so overwhelmed with all the material. Doing this during D1 was hard with so many exams in short spans of time, but as we progress in school and have fewer exams weekly, this strategy has worked well.

Favorite energy food: Coffee. The smell of coffee in the morning helps my body know it’s time to wake up. When I have to stay up late to study, it gives me the energy I need to keep going.

How you unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: I really enjoy watching TV. I watch a lot of shows on Netflix. Being able to focus on the problems the protagonist of the show is facing helps me forget about my own stress for a while. I always feel refreshed and my mind feels rested after a couple of hours of mindless entertainment.

Best dental school moment so far: My favorite moment so far was probably when I attended a volunteer event in Mabank during my D1 year. I was assisting a D4 doing surgical extractions for low-income patients. A lot of them were in pain but couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. The procedure during this event was only $10, and we were able to help a lot of people that day. I was also able to extract my first tooth with the guidance and supervision of the attending dentist. It was an awesome feeling being able to help others while still using the time to learn new things as a D1.

Favorite patient care experience: My favorite clinic experience so far was probably when I assisted my D4 partner in trying a denture for a patient who had been without teeth for over a year! Due to the pandemic, his denture delivery was delayed and when he got to try them on for the first time, he couldn’t stop smiling. It really solidified for me why I wanted to become a dentist in the first place: to help people feel whole and confident about themselves again.

Goal after graduation: My goal after graduation is to go back home to East Texas and open my own practice. There aren’t many Spanish-speaking dentists in the area, and I want to help the Spanish-speaking community, especially, get the dental care they need.

What people may not know about you: Many people don’t know that I was born in Mexico. My family and I didn’t move to the United States until I was 7. I didn’t speak a word of English when I moved here.

— Kathleen Green Pothier