COVID-19 diaries with Connie Yan: An Opportunity for Self-Reflection

Next COVID-19 diaries with Connie Yan, a second year dental student at Sheffield University

Connie, a second year dental student at Sheffield

Second year was a really exciting year for me - learning how to use flashy hand-pieces, making restorations on teeth models and learning all kinds of clinical skills. With the newly found responsibilities that came with seeing my own patients, I started to feel like a real dentist... so I won't lie and say I'm not gutted that it all got cut short. Regardless, I have faith that whatever the circumstances, we will find a way to adapt to these unprecedented times and resume our studies, and hopefully continue treating patients in a safe and thorough manner in the future. Through my Academic Rep meetings, I knew that my dental school was also trying their best to adjust to the new guidelines and bring about a smooth transition to online teaching (which is, understandably, a great feat for a subject that is so hands on!). 

Our dental society has also done a great job of organising free dental webinars for students, covering interesting topics (and helping me to feel like a dental student still!), The dental community online has been really supportive too, sharing interesting content and offering words of advice. 

Similarly, lock down has tested my ability to adapt to a docile life at home, having been used to a more vibrant and active university life. Having more free time than I have ever had has been its own kind of challenge and I know that I am not alone in saying that there have been days that have been embarrassingly unproductive...! Other days, I feel utterly deprived of human contact and daydream about meeting up with friends in a post-Corona world. Luckily, with the convenience of technology, I can still FaceTime friends and more recently, been able to meet up with friends whilst following social distancing. With the usual hectic schedule put aside, I have been able to reach out to old friends more regularly and it has been great to reminisce about past memories even if it overwhelms me with nostalgia at times. 

Lock down, for everyone, has come with unique challenges, but it is comforting to know that we are all facing those hurdles together. For me, it has also been an opportunity to reflect and think deeply about my priorities both within the course and outside of it. One thing I am more grateful than ever for, is piano. Quarantine has given me ample time to learn new pieces, relearn old repertoire and rediscover the joy of playing. Keeping a practice journal and uploading progress videos have been a great way to keep me motivated and disciplined. I definitely want to incorporate more piano playing into my life after quarantine. It has also been great to see many of my friends dedicate themselves to their hobbies and artistic pursuits over this time. Having a creative outlet, whatever it might be, is a really important part of having a balanced and meaningful life. I believe that this lock down has been a good opportunity for self-reflection for everyone and perhaps, when this is all over, we will be a bit kinder to ourselves and realise that perhaps a global crisis was what we needed to shake us into living a more examined life. 

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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