What Inspires me in Life by Natalie G.

What Inspires me in Life by Natalie G.

The elderly man’s red skin profusely perspired as the dentist attempted to extract his tooth. While I observed, I felt the dentist’s apprehension due to this stubborn extraction procedure. Even though this set the office’s schedule back by half an hour, the dentist prevailed to prioritize the patient’s safety and well-being. Along with words of encouragement, the simple act of placing a damp towel on the man’s forehead provided enough comfort for the patient to continue. This dentist exceled in the many roles required to be an exemplary dentist. From my experiences, I am inspired to follow in his footsteps as a businessman, intellectual, artist, leader, and caretaker.

At the age of ten, I transferred into a private school. Compared to my previous public school, the standards and expectations were significantly higher. On top of that challenge, I also struggled with dyslexia; I had to work twice as hard to catch up. Without excuses, I studied every night and barely passed the fourth grade. I have never made the excuse of ‘I am not smart enough’; it was always ‘I could have tried harder’. With every passing year, my grades slowly improved. I found ways to control my dyslexia and encourage myself to never give up. My goal of earning high honors was accomplished in eighth grade. During those five years, I prioritized my education over family and friends. I know the work, sacrifices, and amount of coffee that is required for a long term goals. Anyone can accomplish their dreams as long as they stay focused. This is the foundation my self-discipline and enthusiasm were built upon.

Paying for a private education for four children is expensive. Seeing my parents take out a second mortgage on our home made me appreciate their sacrifices for my education. It was up until sophomore year that those sacrifices were enough. If it were not for my grandparent’s generous hearts, I would have finished high school in public school. My parents continued to support me in college. Now that my father is on medical leave due to heart issues, this scholarship will help replenish the three month of lost income and allow for me to graduate next semester. I will never take for granted a learning experience; whether it is school or life lessons. I understand and appreciate there are people that care about the education of the future generations. For that, I thank you for providing me the opportunity to be considered for this scholarship.

Through my college’s Honors Program, I was able to pursue education outside of the traditional classroom. For my zoology course, I worked closely with my professor to perform an independent study. I conducted a series of experiments to test the effect of dental hygiene products on Streptococcal bacteria. This was my first exposure that taught me the importance of laboratory techniques and conditions during a sensitive process. I have continued to use similar methods, protocols, and critical thinking skills as an undergraduate research assistant in an organic chemistry laboratory. In any research setting, it sparks my interest to be able to use my hands and knowledge to confirm or discover scientific ideas. Dentistry will allow me to continue using these skills as I perform and interpret diagnostic testing for my patients.

Participating in the Summer Health Professionals Educational Program (SHPEP) solidified my desire to pursue higher education. The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s program focused on public health and interprofessional education. Their academic enrichment, clinical experiences, and connections to dental professionals presented the contents and importance of the dental field. I became aware of the time management, manual dexterity, and detail required to perform dental procedures. While exercising an impression on my peer, it was essential to be detailed-orientated and punctual to avoid bubbles in this time-sensitive procedure. As I waxed an incisor tooth, attention to dental anatomy, symmetry, and precision was used to replicate the faces and angle of the missing portion of the ceramics tooth. Lastly, I had the opportunity to perform an amalgam filling on a mannequin. Like any dental procedure, this required a steady hand while working in a tight space. Working with dental equipment and materials confirmed dentistry will utilize the artistic and perceptual abilities I have developed through painting, ceramics, and special effects makeup.

The SHPEP dental program director reminded us weekly that every day in the dental field is like opening day in baseball; everyday needs charisma and stamina to make a change in the world. Unlike many people, I have been privileged to have access to dental care. Until SHPEP, I was ignorant of the fact that dental health has effects on medical health and daily lifestyle. Through this knowledge, I have taken an interest in public health as a potential dental specialty to serve and educate disadvantaged populations in my own backyard.

Recently, I participated in a four-day mission trip to improve the lifestyle of the homeless. Communication, team work, and encouragement were our group’s keys to persevere in cleaning the commons areas, organizing the food pantries, and restoring cabins. The energy needed to clean, paint, and decorate the cabin was fueled by our passion to give shelter to homeless families. Not only did these residents need resources and security to overcome their adversities, but also emotional support. Over supper, we had the opportunity to speak with the residents about their journeys and hardships resulting in the opening of our eyes and lifting of their spirits. I hope to continue contributing to the physical and emotional wellness of my community.

Dentistry attracts me with its spectrum of responsibilities that will utilize my talents of knowledge, art, and compassion. The support of my parents, grandparents, professors, and scholarship benefactors have inspired me to become the dentist I have envisioned for myself. I would not be the person I am today without the people who care about the education of the future generation. I look forward to the coming years that will enhance my capabilities to prioritize my patients’ health, manage a successful practice, and lead my dental team as an honorable member of the dental profession.

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