As a predental student, I never truly realized the importance of my ASDA membership and the benefits that would follow for years to come until attending the National Leadership Conference (NLC). Attending the NLC provided me insight as to what it truly means to be an active member dental/predental student, and the journey that lies ahead. As an investment for the future of dentistry, we were being molded into what we have been called to be, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to take advantage of this opportunity. ASDA is the starting point of a great future, beginning with the NLC which provided a vast amount of information that will touch the lives of others–no matter what part of this journey one may be on. ASDA believes in investing in the future by paying it forward.
What I noticed the most about the conference was that every individual had an eagerness for success. Everyone wants to be successful, yes that’s true. However, the dental students at this conference were interested in the success of their colleagues as well. The NLC is about developing future dentists to their best potential, with the help and support of others working together as a team. Mentorship was especially emphasized. Dr. William Calnon, and Tim Calnon, discussed the importance of finding a great mentor, as our lives and careers will certainly be influenced by the people with whom we interact. At various points in our lives, we will need different mentors to assist the various continuing aspects of life long learning. What a better place to find a mentor than the NLC.
Success is driven by passion and enthusiasm, and a genuine love for one’s work. While being submerged in this environment of four hundred dental students, I was able to see their level of passion and enthusiasm and I was humbled. I am inspired and thankful that these dental students represent the future of dentistry. I was able to see why dental school is so competitive and why the application process is so rigorous. The camaraderie, teamwork and fellowship among these individuals, leaves me hungry for wanting more.
I also realized the importance of being an active ASDA member. As one works diligently to gain acceptance to dental school, it is important to realize that the work will not end upon receiving an acceptance letter, or finishing four years of school. After spending so much time trying to achieve this goal of becoming a dentist, one must be mindful of the future of dentistry. The development of networks, and being an active engaged professional, is of paramount importance. These bonds start developing at a local level by being involved in the ASDA local chapter. Of course district 4 is the best district in America, so I will give a little insight of what really happens at a caucus meeting. Since the sessions are extremely secretive, all doors must be locked securely with no information leaving the room. While others were eavesdropping outside, they were probably surprised to hear music playing; our very own ASDA Vice President, Alex Barton was dancing Gangnam Style! She was also asked if she could name the twelve cranial nerves. Alex responded by saying, “of course I can, 1, 2, 3, …12!” What a way to be quick on one’s feet.
Many advantages have I gained from attending the NLC, and from my ASDA membership. I was able to build a foundation for my future by meeting with like-minded individuals. I believe in the ASDA and have been able to gain insight from first hand experience through the NLC. Dr. William Calnon cited an appropriate quote from Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Please become an advocate for the love of dentistry. My thanks to each and every individual that believed in this event and made it such a success.