It started with…
A little into my encounter with fitness and how it became part of my life.
For the majority of us in dental school, we have been living and breathing academics for most of our lives and the ambition to pursue more has become engrained in us. I grew up with the mentality of putting in my 110% into anything I set my mind to, and it taught me the importance of hard work and perseverance. Blah blah blah. Haven’t we all heard about that since our parents first sat down with us at the table to help us with our homework? I don’t mean to dilute this life lesson because I mean, it paid off. I worked hard, got into college, then dental school. In my mind I was an all-star academic athlete! (HUGE nerd alert)
It wasn’t until I entered college when fitness became a big part of my life because at the end of my freshman year, you guessed it… I had gained the infamous freshman fifteen. This was the first time I felt what it was like to “listen to your body.” Not only had I gained a couple more soft spots, I was lethargic, irritable, and emotionally drained all the time and blamed it on the stress of school. I had to make a change to my lifestyle in order to feel better and enjoy life more, and luckily found exercise as my outlet. While I had a lot of practice pushing my body mentally, pushing my body physically was something I was not used to doing and something I didn’t realize had so much overlap. It frustrated me at the beginning but when I began to see results in my body and how it translated into my lifestyle, I realized I created a powerful mind–body connection that I could control. Working out was a way for me to channel my stress and anxiety from school into something that could produce positive tangible results. Overcoming a physical challenge prepared me to face academic challenges in school with a fresh perspective.
As I entered dental school, I kept fitness as a priority because it is how I choose to “self-care.” We all go through the same challenges and frustrations in dental school each year, but to me, the important thing is how we choose to face those challenges. Fitness has been an outlet for me to direct my frustrations with dental school, but it has also taught me to view these obstacles as learning experiences and opportunities for growth. While my passion for dentistry is what drives me to work hard and become the best provider for my patients, I do not want my career to solely define who I am. Rather, I want to work so I can live, and live an abundant and diverse life that keeps me growing and learning in all aspects. Fitness has challenged me to find lessons and growth in other things in life outside of academics and has made me realize I am capable of a lot more.