**Make sure to participate in the FREE '7 Day Board Exam Prep Study Challenge' for dental hygiene students here, and dental assisting students here.**
I say this with a big smile on my face I promise :):). Your dream is to become a dental assistant or dental hygienist right? Well, it will be HARD! We work in healthcare so guess what? People graduating will need to know their stuff. You can't go through school and do it half way, you can't study for a test and kind of study right? You're probably feeling stressed and overwhelmed because even the first week of school is stressful!
For regular college kids the first week is full of a lot of nothing, but for dental hygiene students and dental assisting students its like WHOA! KILL ME NOW :). You may be thinking "Sure Andrea, you have no idea." Well..I do! Especially now that I am finishing up my Restorative Hygiene Program - it is INTENSE. I am the second week in, my grandmother passed away yesterday :(, and we seem to be learning something new daily and being tested 3 times a week. Intense doesn't even spell it out. Did you know we start seeing clients the 4th week in? WHOA is right! I need to do amalgam fillings and composites like..soon!
I'm stressed and I know all of you are stressed. Here are some management strategies that I have that works for me:
1. Whether you're at home or living away from home, make your area cozy and relaxing. I'm 8 hours away from home so this means bringing my own comforter and pillows. I'm going to buy a candle tomorrow (oh how I love candles) and I treat myself to a coffee once a week (on Friday's YAY) at Starbucks :). These things make me feel good and when I can come back here with my coffee in hand and light my candle I feel relaxed and ready to enjoy the weekend.
2. Get sleep! Go to sleep at a good time. Don't study until 2am and wake up for 6am. If you're sleep deprived trust me you will feel the stress a lot more. When I'm in school I'm ready for a nap literally as soon as I get home. I try not to nap though and wait until 9 or 10pm when I ZzzzzZz. I wake up at 7am and get a good nights sleep that way.
3. Think of the positive. This is a serious statement. Are you failing things left, right, and center? Take it as a learning experience and ask for extra help from your instructor. Nobody can be perfect at everything right away this is impossible. People that seem perfect in clinic or always get 99% on tests are just not normal. Things that are harder to come by, you will really appreciate them when the light bulb goes off in a few weeks and you get it. Focus on the things you ARE doing right. Maybe you have excellent chair side manner with patients and maybe you're the only one not falling asleep in class...all positives.
The worst part is, if you let the stress get to you it will only make things worse. Take a breath and rethink things the next day. I completely understand your stress and all this stress in school is normal. Remember school is not forever and it will be worth it in the long run!
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