COVID-19 diaries with Maisie Hinds: First Year Dental Studies in Lock Down

My next instalment of COVID-19 diaries is with Maisie Hinds, a first year dental student at Peninsula. 

Maisie, a first year dental student at Peninsula

My name is Maisie, I am a first year dental student from Peninsula Dental School. 

If you'd asked me how I thought my first year was going to end, I certainly wouldn't have assumed that it would end in me carving soap in my room and attending online classes! That being said, I have learnt more from this year about both myself and my course, the I ever could have imagined. 

On March 17th, my year group were in the middle of practising crown preparations for the first time, when it was announced that all face-to-face teaching would be suspended. We all quickly fled campus and travelled home with the thought that we would be back after Easter break (April 19th). Little did I know that the transfer to online teaching would remain until the end of the academic year and term 3 would really be a test of my self-motivation and ability to learn from a screen. 

Peninsula were great in making the transfer to online classes speedy, as by the end of the first week, we were already having our Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) sessions online. With no understanding of the situation, I was definitely a bit of a lost sheep during the first month. My initial fear surrounded all the practical skills I would lose during lock down, questioning how long it would take me to get my ribber dam and cavity preparation skills back. 

Furthermore, it was around the time of year when we were meant to start seeing patients as we had just finished our clinic induction and were gearing up to take our first appointments. Despite the disappointment of not being able to see patients this year and losing practical skills, I decided to focus on what I have learned and gained throughout this time:

1. Families

I feel so fortunate to be able to spend quality time with my family This has been hard in the past academic year as a result of a busy revision schedule, so being able to take time to relax with them and cuddle my dogs has definitely made the whole experience easier. 

2. Hobbies

During self-isolation I have taken time to focus on my hobbies that help me to de-stress, this mainly involves me running. It can be so easy during term-time to forget and make time for doing things that you find fun!

3. Friends

Talking to my friends during this time has helped me to feel that the stress that is associated with COVID-19 is normal. This has been one of the most helpful experiences for me, as I am able to talk to people who empathise and fear the same things. 

4. Learning 

Whilst I have hiding myself in piles of work I have learnt how important it is to figure out what kind of revision works best for you! Actively learning has saved me so much time, and has stopped me from getting bored of reading Power-points. If you are a student reading this, test out some different active revision methods such as flashcards or teaching someone. This will help you to both save time and retain the information better. 

5. Webinars

In the past months, webinars have taught me so much clinical information and shown me so many more insights into dentistry than I ever could have imagined learning during first year. This is something I hope to explore further with next years Dental Society!

Being able to see the clinical side of dentistry so early on has been an eye opening experience which makes me more excited for what the future holds. 

6. Manual Dexterity

The fear of losing practical skills is something I'm sure every dental student fears. Whilst it is inevitable that we will need some time once we return to get back to our original skill levels, there are a number of things we can do at home to maintain our manual dexterity. Whether its playing an instrument, drawing, soap carving, wood carving or painting, it is worth giving it a go! 

If you are a student, I just want to say that it's OK if you have not been productive in the last few months. It is really hard to sit down and learn notes on topics that might be completely new to you, especially with the stress that you might be dealing with. It is important to give yourself a break and know that you are not on your own, so please talk to someone even if it is your course mate or family member. 

Whilst I am still uncertain as to what will happen in the next year or so, I have gained so many new interests that I cannot wait to continue to develop! I am excited to continuing working on myself and my plans for the future. 

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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