Looking For Trouble

Standing on a tightrope, one trembling foot in front of the other, I peer out into the angry sea, protecting my ears from the deafening sound of the thunder as lighting bolts shock the surface of the ocean. I take my first steps toward turbulence remembering that a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.

As rogue waves rattle the tightrope, I cautiously take one step after another. With shaky legs, I am startled by the shrieks of thunder, while I try to keep my balance. Howling winds and pummeling raindrops try to wear me down with every movement. Inch by inch, I fight through the storm. Though my body feels foreign to the situation, my mind is at peace in the calamity of it all. There’s a certain beauty in feeling the pulse of life. The roaring waves and pounding gusts of wind wash my face with exhilaration. These struggles make the journey exiting and rewarding despite the peril they may bring. They may invoke fear and stress, but I choose to walk by faith, not sight. There is a constant fear that at any moment I could be blindsided by a wave, but refusing to be victimized by fear, I remember I am only bounded by the barriers I build. It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain. Enjoying the challenge presented before me and enthralled by the crisp rhythmic sound of rain drops hammering the sea, the sharp wind rushing across my skin to sing my ear, and the reverberating vibrations from towering waves engaged in a playful game of leapfrog, I revel in the ephemeral experience. Remembering that this storm is about my growth more than my downfall, with each step through the adversity, I learn to walk faster and stand straighter.

The storm has passed. The sea has rocked itself into a slumber and the wind has diffused into a gentle, cool breeze. The sun’s bold rays refracted over the shimmering sea. With a newfound confidence, I stride over the tightrope. Having enjoyed the process of becoming a stronger version of myself, I understand that troubles aren’t to be avoided but to be pursued.

A Passion For Dentistry

Growing up family full of dental professionals, I had the unique opportunity to learn about dentistry through my family’s legacy. I remember going to their dental practices as a child and being enthralled by the way they would use their hands in such a precise and deliberate manner. As a child, I remember curiously trying to see my uncle work on my teeth from the reflection in the dental light. When my older brother decided to pursue, my curiosity piqued even further. As a source of inspiration growing up, I wanted to be just like him and my other family members. I admired their ability to merge such passion for the trade with artistry. Not only did I want to participate in this dynasty of dentists but I also wanted to continue the family tradition of providing meaningful and impactful healthcare to members of our local community. I wanted to invoke those same feelings of legacy and inspiration in others as they had in me.

tWorking with my hands for my youth naturally had a large impact on my decision as a dentist. As a son of an engineer and handyman, I spent many hours helping my Dad with house renovations. From painting, installing hardwood floors and toilets to fixing brakes on our cars, I always felt a certain level of fulfillment working with my hands. There was no greater satisfaction than when my father and I would finish a project and reflect on our workmanship – we both took great pride in precisely and masterfully completing a project. I loved the aspect blending those principles seamlessly to the hands on work I was doing.

As I began to shadow, I quickly saw similarities. The torque applied by and orthodontist while aligning a patient’s teeth, the radical reaction involved when light curing, and the wound healing after an implant surgery all rely fundamentally scientific principles that does not forfeit my ability to use my hands. Being able to fall in love with the process was another key aspect I saw in dentistry. When I was building a brick wall this past summer in my backyard, I did not derive satisfaction solely from the end product but the process as well. There is certain level of enjoyment in delivering a crown for a patient not found in the final appeal but the steps in-between of shaping and adjusting the crown along the way.

Nonetheless, I was still hesitant in my endeavor to be dentist because I could not see a sense of fulfillment or civic duty attached with the profession.  Growing up in dental family, it never occurred to me how fortunate I was to be given strong guidance and habits on dental care. My passion for dentistry strongly manifested itself during an eye-opening experience that I had while assisting at a local dental practice. The case involved a young woman working as a waitress in her late twenties. She lost her self-confidence due to tooth decay and staining from excessive consumption of sugary beverages. I watched as the dentist employed such dexterity and a meticulous attention to detail to give the patient a natural and genuine smile. When the procedure was finished, the patient was overwhelmed with new found energy. It seemed as if the years of burden of repressing her smile had finally subsided. In that moment, I found the sense of purpose and fulfillment attached to the profession.

I look forward to attending the Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry with great excitement. I will finally be able to take part in my family’s long legacy of Temple dentists.  With Temple’s focus on clinical skills, I can employ and develop my hand dexterity while infusing scientific principles into my work. Attending Temple’s dental school places me one step further in the process of carrying out my vision. I hope to revive the happiness in my patients who have been kept prisoner by feelings of pain and shame. I hope to ensure that patients who cannot afford dental care get the treatment they need and to the highest standard of care.