My journey to dental hygiene…

So, I was that weird girl who would watch marathons of this show called “A Baby Story” that was on TLC. I LOVED it and so I hatched this plan to become a nurse and then eventually continue on to become a midwife. As I grew up the whole midwife plan dimmed, but I still thought nursing was for me! It took me my first semester of college in the nursing program to realize…”nope, not for me”. Now mind you, this was while I was only in my prerequisite classes and if 18 year old me had just stuck in there, it very well may have been! However, this was not the case and that freedom of being away from home (as well as the freedom to go out and drink…oh college) sent me down a different path! During the rest of my time at this particular college I was a psychology major as well as an early childhood education major before I decided to come on home and try something else! What next….well, I got the brilliant idea to take marketing and management classes at the local community college…that didn’t seem right either. (Making the decision of what you want to do with the rest of your life at that age is hard…am I right!?).

Dental came into my life because my brother was attending a technical school and I came across a pamphlet showing a 9 month dental assisting program…sure! While I was in this program, I knew that dental was for me. I worked for a few years as a dental assistant and then decided I wanted to keep on going. I started taking the prerequisites for dental hygiene at night after my full time job until I made it into the program! The program was going great (ok, ok, not great…it was stressful, oh so very stressful…but in the grand scheme of things, great!). It was my last semester and I was doing well in my classes, but had cancellation after cancellation after no show during my clinical time. Now in clinic, you need a certain amount of patients done with a certain amount of different requirements done as well to pass. This was not the case for me. I was told that I had enough to earn an incomplete, which meant that I luckily did not have to do the whole semester over (which would be ALL of the patient number needed and ALL of those requirements along the way…yuck!). Not the ideal situation, as I wanted to be skipping out of the halls and starting my journey, but ok, I can go back for a month to finish those leftover requirements! I was even allowed to walk at the graduation with my class…so yay! My advisor, who was often tough on me, knowing that the hand skills hadn’t come as naturally to me as some of my other classmates, gave me the goat card you see above at our pinning (I LOL’ed so hard when I read this card!)

I had a relaxing summer, my last one before entering the real world again at peace with the situation and I returned in the Fall. I finished those remaining requirements before my deadline and felt oh so relieved! I then received a message to come in to school to discuss something….that’s never good! I was told that with those requirements added in I failed and that I never should have been allowed to come back for the incomplete, but should have been advised that I needed to do the whole spring clinical semester over. Ummmmm…no! (The people who I had seen in the Fall semester as well as those requirements associated all got calculated into my average as 0’s therefore bringing the average down…This my friends, is not an incomplete system!). My amazing fiance (hubby now!) and I put lots of research together, gathered all the emails of my ‘incomplete’ status and the advisement’s given to me and we set out to fight this thing! Luckily the dean of health sciences and the new head of the dental hygiene program (not the one who gave me the horrible advisement/passed me off) agreed with me.

During the time taken to rectify this, I missed the testing date for the clinical exam and the next one was 5 months away.  I slowly took my other 3 exams in the meantime and finished with the clinical exam. Seeing the word “Pass” on those 4 exams and going and picking up my college degree was unbelievably bittersweet. I knew there would be no more phone calls to ‘come in to discuss something’, no more tears over how I just wanted to be done with school and no more cloudy future. This was it, I was ready to send in my licensing information and finally BEGIN as a dental hygienist! The goat finally made it up the mountain!

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