I remember a couple weeks right before I started dental school, looking ahead at an intimidating four years of hard work and feeling completely overwhelmed by worry. Thoughts spanned in my mind from “what if I can’t keep up” to “what did I get myself into”, “is this going to consume me?” Not to mention, I had previous dental students relaying the horrors of second year and how they spent nights in sim-lab perfecting their preps. You could say anxiety about what was to come was definitely the theme of my first year. While I give myself a pat on the back for coming out of it alive, I came to realize that this “burnt out” feeling was because I set dental school on such a higher level than all the other things in my life outside of school. So I had to take a breath and reset, and remind myself of all the other things besides dentistry that fuel my passion. That perspective has grounded me these last three years of school and helped me keep a healthy work/life balance.
I found Burncycle in a transitional season of life during the beginning of my third year. It was new and it was intimidating. I never thought I could get that tired (or sweaty) from riding an indoor bicycle. It pushed me physically, mentally, and emotionally to a point where I discovered how amazing it feels to show up for yourself in a challenging environment, put in the hard work, and come out on the other side with whatever definition you want of accomplishment and success. I began to parallel the same challenges I faced in that room with larger scale things in dental school and in my daily life, and I remembered how strong I could be. I remembered the vulnerability of taking a risk, facing a fear and pushing myself to the other side of it, and it was beautiful.
So, this post is not just about a work/life balance or stress relief that exercise brings me, but a reminder that the other passions we have in life outside of school are just as important and valuable. The other people in our life who are not dentists share same life experiences as us and at the end of the day, dentistry is just something we DO. It is the other things that bring a wealth of life lessons to continually shape and grow us into not only great providers, but great human beings. So, consider what balance means to you and how you will use your other passions to grow.
About the Author: Jessie Zhou
Jessie is a D4, BurnCycle instructor, Kaplan test prep instructor, AND amazing singer! She works hard and is incredibly humble.