COVID-19 diaries with Hiraa Jamil: Corona Cohort

My next COVID-19 diary entry is from Hiraa Jamil, just qualified final year dental student at Birmingham Dental School...

Recently qualified Dr Hiraa, from Birmingham Dental School

The last few months of university as a dental student are supposed to be some of the most fulfilling and memorable; written finals are completed, all our time at the dental hospital is spent on clinics and outreach placements, refining our skills, daring to be bolder and tackle more challenging cases in preparation for our DFT year. It's supposed to be a time where we pass on our pearls wisdom to the younger students and ease ourselves into the transition from dental student to foundation dentist. 

But now all the work we have done in preparation for our clinical case presentations were merely words on a page, we missed out on carrying giant boards around for our case presentations, practising with fellow students, the stress, the anticipation and levels of excitement for presenting in June - something that we had been working on for the best part of a year. We missed out on the anticipation for results as a group, previous years were fortunate enough to celebrate their white glove years in the presence of each other - the atmosphere electric and one that still gives me chills when I see the videos of their reactions. Instead we found out that we were the 3rd consecutive white glove year over Zoom, which wasn't quite the same, we missed out on the celebrations that would come after that, signing each other's year books, getting a whole year picture, celebrating at our annual BUDSS Stratford fancy stress bar crawl. There were no final firm dinners or goodbyes and thank yous to the staff who had played such a huge role in our lives for the last 5 years. No graduation ball and no summer graduation. Ultimately, in that moment I felt like we would no longer be the class of 2020, but instead the Corona Cohort. 

For someone who has had quite the roller coaster journey during my 5 years at Birmingham Dental School, the fact that this was the end of my journey at dental school was and still is heart-breaking. When I look back at the past few months, it seems a blur, like something out of a dystopian film, what I didn't anticipate was the effect this global pandemic would have on mental health and well-being. I worry about the uncertainty of my future along with the future of my fellow colleagues across the nation in the same situation. How will I adapt to going into my DFT year having been our of clinical practice for months, staying locked indoors? I don't speak on behalf of every dental student by any means, but I think most would agree that this global pandemic has changed everything for us, and what we live in fear of most is forever being known as the "Corona Cohort", the final years of 2020 who missed out on the normality and elation of graduating and starting the next chapter of 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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