From the very first few steps on the University’s hallowed turf, I was engulfed by a range of emotions. Sadness, excitement, relief and apprehension were just a few emotions in the cocktail I was experiencing.
Sadness because the safe, sheltering environment that was high school had evaporated into thin air. A place which bred many dear friendships had come to an end with many dispersing around the country and further to conquer the world.
Excitement for the new journey ahead in a course unlike any other. Rumours of early clinical experience and finally a system which placed as much emphasis on the practical aspect as the theoretical were about to come to fruition.
Relief that all the blood, sweat and tears shed from pushing through the countless barriers to just enter this course were eventually vindicated. Also, my practically dead social life wasn’t for nothing. But there were unsurmountable nerves, like an annoying third wheel, for the tumultuous adventure I knew laid ahead for me. Late nights fuelled with unimaginable amounts of coffee and eccentric professors were just a few pleasant stories the seniors deemed fit to introduce to us naïve first years.
Having already spent a year undergoing a bachelor’s degree in another course, my initial ‘first days’ n erves were relatively subdued compared to my fellow first year compatriots. The university’s initiative to organise people of the same course in small groups on the first day of o-week to break the ice, did help break the walls everyone put up. However, that didn’t make us social butterfly’s by any stretch of the imagination. Nobody can forget the first lecture at 9 am: where the conversations were at a minimum. It’s not that unusual though.
Many of us have been in the same school with the same system, same rules, same friends for years and this new journey just throws a huge spanner in the works. Some even travelled from different states, traversed seas, hundreds of miles to this foreign smallish town to realise their dream of becoming a dentist. However, if anyone had any guards still up, the AHMS free lunch bull-dozed it. What better way to soar the endorphins and make a bunch of people jovial and willing to mingle than free food! Like fat droplets in water, we began to aggregate and form a ‘dental crew’. Starting from two or three people who had previous history bundling together it transformed a sizeable group of first years all in the same boat- a boat we can hopefully ride together through the rough waters and enjoy each other’s company after long exams or brutal clinical session.
I felt, and I’m sure I’m not alone of this, but the first years seemed to gel so well and the atmosphere was one of jubilance, acceptance and geniality. Walking into the last lecture on the Thursday, the mood had completely transformed from the morning session- we seemed to be one unit. Not to forget the professor’s role in this transformation. From the first lecture they seemed to understand the position we were in and tried their best to facilitate the transition.
The AUDSS ‘free lunch’, and may I stress that again because it did encourage a rather large turnout, eased the transition. This was the first opportunity to meet the BDS students from different years, gain their wisdom. By that I mean free textbooks, best pub crawls and which people to suck up too. But jokes aside, they imparted words of wisdom, words about the course and on what would make a good dentist. Advice which I will hold dearly for the duration of my degree and the rest of my working life. Not to mention, they were the nicest cohort any student could have the privilege of being a part of. We would soon be acquainted with what can be described as a pretty sweet chill zone- the dent basement. Place where you can mingle, work or crack up with other dent students of all other years.
After receiving the absolute awesome bargain of the AUDSS and MIPS kit, what was coming was the much anticipated AUDSS and you guessed it… more free food (but only for freshers though!). I mean there’s so many perks for freshers, one might even consider repeating for the benefits, (but not really worth though!). On the Sunday of O-week, delicious food, professional DJ’s and unlimited drinks promised to be an eventful afternoon. It lived up to the expectation. Overcoming the initial challenge of helping the interstate and international students to get there, there was nothing to complain about the event. It was very well planned and the vibe was amazing, however it was the company of the other BDS students which made the day what it was and made us feel part of a close-knit community. And let us not forget the pretty awesome crib that hosted the event (thanks Nic). On the bus ride home, I felt a sense of belonging I’ve never felt before, something I really appreciate of the seniors- attempting to make the experience as enjoyable as possible. With Dent camp encroaching upon us, I’m sure long and meaningful friendships will be forged.
Now in the first few weeks of the course and a long journey a head, I couldn’t be more ecstatic on being on this path and surrounded with lovely, like-minded people who take their work seriously but also know how to have fun and good banter as well.
Sanjit Suresh (BDS 1)