COVID-19 diaries with Gabby Thompson: Preparing for Final Year in Lock Down

Next COVID-19 diaries is with Gabby Thompson, a fourth year dental student at Bristol University...

Gabby, a fourth year dental student at Bristol

How is it June already?

Our 11th week of lock down begins.

I'm sure we have all experienced the lock down lows at some point but hopefully this period has given us the chance to take a breath and reflect. 

I was slightly perplexed about what to do with myself during the first few weeks of lock down. Uni closed. I seemingly had no purpose. Yet a Dalgona coffee and a few banana breads later I decided I should use this time creatively and begin preparations for fifth year and potential plans for the future.

For those of you that don't know what a Dalgona coffee is: 
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp very hot water
Whisk until fluffy. Then scoop on top of a glass of milk and ice. Thank me later. 

I thought I would share a few things that I've found useful. Particularly when trying to continue a "practical degree" with no practical work and preparing for the most important year of dental school whilst confined to my bed (okay, perhaps not confined to my bed, but working from home is a challenge when your "office" is your bedroom). 

Prepping for Finals 

It is easy to start panicking about finals at the moment, with the uncertainty about interviews and the lack of teaching and clinical practice during this period. However, it is reassuring that every dental student is in the same position and the universities are working their hardest to support us. 

In fact, the abundance of time on our hands could prove beneficial. Here are some things you could be doing:
  • Use this time to perfect your finals notes: collate information and ensure everything is succinct
  • Re-watch lectures on subjects you've found difficult 
  • Read the "recommended reading" that you've always avoided!
  • Email your tutors about topics you've wanted clarity on
  • Begin preparation for SJTs. There are lots of useful books on SJT revision you can order online (or see this blog post). 


You can find a webinar on almost anything these days and a lot of highly regarded dental professionals have been offering free webinars during lock down. I would greatly recommend tuning into some of them, either on subjects to aid with revision or just topics of personal interest. I've particularly enjoyed exploring areas in dental specialities such as oral and maxillofacial surgery and cosmetic dentistry, which are not always covered in detail at dental school. 

Thinking about Life after Dental School

Dental school is hard enough. We hardly have time to think about life post-dental school. But if we've got the time now, why not start to think about the following:
  • Where might you like to do your DFT year?
  • Does dental core training appeal to you?
  • Are there any specialities that interest you? Read up on them and plan how you aim to get some experience in them
  • How can your boost your CV for future job applications? e.g. undergraduate awards, writing articles and volunteering

As this pandemic has highlighted, the future cannot be predicted. However, we can do our best to improve our chances. 

Stay positive. Stay safe. 

Do you want to write a COVID-19 diary? Please get in touch! Whether you're a dental student, foundation dentist, dental core trainee, associate, dental nurse, therapist I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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