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Filipino Immigrant, Dental School, Bound for Orthodontics

Updated: Mar 24

My parents left their eight children behind in the Philippines when they immigrated to America. My siblings and I were finally reunited with them eight years ago, coming to the USA when I was eighteen, feeling confident and ready for anything. My initial motivation to continue education was to make my family proud and prove that their sacrifice wasn’t in vain. I was able to graduate summa cum laude from University of Central Florida. I considered different medical fields and was drawn to dentistry. My greatest honor is that I have been the only dental student in my program that has been awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship for Dental Medicine four years in a row. In dental school, I have learned how much science and art go into dentistry. My life-long devotion to art also goes a long way to explain my chosen area of specialty: Orthodontics. After finishing dental school, I hope to proceed right away to an advanced training position in this area of dentistry, where my greatest passion lies.

I am also drawn to Orthodontics because I am a family person, and I seek active engagement with parents and children alike, building long term relationships in the community, listening to the stories of my patients and being as supportive as possible. Because of the way that Orthodontic treatment takes place over time, I look forward to becoming a part of the lives of numerous patients and their families over the course of years rather than days, weeks, or months, helping with life-enhancing changes. I also appreciate the way that Orthodontics is virtually painless with patients more highly motivated to visit and get their treatment, actually looking forward to it. I look forward to decades to come giving my all to Orthodontics, helping to raise self-esteem and awareness of oral hygiene among whole families, encouraging them to take care of their teeth, and their health in general.

My first experience with Orthodontics was in my first year of dental school, thanks to the support and inspiration of my friend, Mike, an Orthodontics resident. The thought of getting braces was in my mind at the time that I was accepted to dental school. Mike gave me the confidence to start the treatment and we saw each other every 2 weeks for almost 2 years, becoming great friends in addition to colleagues. Whenever we have time, he tells me about his complex and especially challenging cases. Mike has encouraged me to apply since he says that I have great potential in this area. I want to give all that I can to my community and I also look forward to lifelong study in Orthodontics, particularly craniofacial and complex cases and put this training to excellent use working with charitable organizations that help the underserved.

I remember when it first hit me that our dreams were to be tempered by realities that we had little control over. In the English world, I desperately needed help with my assignments in college. But I could never ask my parents because they are entirely illiterate in English. My father works at a Chinese grocery store, though he speaks neither Chinese nor English. My mother works as a live-in nanny six days a week. Grants, scholarships, and my part-time jobs have helped me to afford four years in college. Our life had always been a struggle to survive in America but knowing that we have had each other to depend on made life easier.

My sister and my niece both underwent orthodontic treatment and I shared their experience and feelings with them preparing me for an immersion in this field that will last a professional lifetime. I feel especially comfortable with and dedicated to the oral health of young people, adolescents as well as children, thus reinforcing my sense of Orthodontics as the appropriate choice. I look forward to helping to improve the emotional state of teenagers, which is why I believe as an orthodontist, I would be able to make a maximum, positive, and sustainable impact on my patients. Another reason why I look forward to becoming an orthodontist is because of the lifestyle. Based on the orthodontists that I have observed, the schedule seems to be especially flexible. This would benefit me in arranging time for my own family and helping me to live with less stress, yet giving my all every day, performing at my highest level of ability.

My long-term objectives include having my own practice at the same time that I volunteer at a hospital part-time, continuing to balance work and family. In terms of research, I am especially engrossed with timely management for children with developing class III malocclusion. My niece had class 3 malocclusion at the age of 8 which made it difficult keep her teeth clean and she tended to bite her tongue when eating. As a result, I feel highly motivated to contribute to related research.

I thank you for considering my application to dental school.

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