My school years in India were spent in establishments specifically for the children of those serving in the military. While providing an excellent education, the schools also offered other advantages, such as emphasizing the military values of self-discipline, diligence, persistence, teamwork, leadership, and empathy toward others. It also provided the opportunity to interact with students and staff from all parts of the sub-continent and learn about their different languages and cultures. I was also a Girl Guides member, further developing my social skills and leadership potential. I adopted the school and the Guide's ethos enthusiastically and believe it has provided me an excellent base to build a successful life and career. I excelled in my school studies. I loved mathematics and the sciences, and many career paths lay open to me. However, I wished to make a difference, not just a living, and healthcare greatly appealed to me. My aunt, an endodontist, is head of a government dental college, so I had the opportunity to spend time at the college and learn from dedicated and skilled dentists.
I became aware of the dramatically beneficial effects of their work on the appearance, confidence, and lives of her patients, so I decided to pursue dentistry. My choice was also related to my wish to have an outlet for a robust esthetic skill sense and highly developed manual dexterity that I acquired through my hobbies, including drawing, painting, dress-making, and embroidery. Dentistry appeared to offer an outlet for all my skills, so my decision was made. When I attended my first ‘dental camp,’ providing treatment in a deprived rural community in India, and saw grimaces of pain transformed into smiles of relief and gratitude, I knew that I had made an excellent career choice and have never, for a moment, regretted it. I also learned about many people's desperate need for dental treatment and education. Throughout my career, I intend to contribute by donating some of my time and skills to treating the marginalized and by doing all I can to educate people in effective oral and dental hygiene regimes.
After completing my 12th grade with excellent marks, I started to prepare for the competitive entrance examination for dental college. I was admitted to the prestigious Noorul Islam College of Dental Science, affiliated with the University of Kerala. My college was located within a multi-specialty hospital campus, NIMS Medicity, one of the most prominent health care centers in south India. Consequently, my clinical training involved exposure to various patient types and conditions, providing an excellent grounding in the profession. In addition to my studies, I was very active in college activities, including working as a coordinator for youth festivals, seminars, and workshops. I was offered the opportunity to participate in the University’s own Youth Festival and won the third prize for Hindi Poem Recitation,
My diligence and enthusiasm resulted in excellent grades. I was ranked among the top three students in my class throughout my training and achieved the University of Kerala First Rank in my second year. I graduated with an excellent GPA of 4. India has significant oral and dental health problems, with disproportionate incidences of oral cancers, early teeth loss, and other issues arising from a lack of services and public awareness of the importance of oral and dental hygiene and the dangers of habits such as smoking and tobacco chewing. I was involved in providing free dental screenings and awareness education in under-served rural areas during my training, which brought the extent of the problems home to me. This exposure has fired a research interest, especially in the early diagnosis of oral cancers.
Since arriving in the US, I have sought exposure to the local dental environment. I have worked as a Dental Assistant and had the opportunity to ‘shadow’ dental practitioners. I have been introduced to the latest techniques and materials and am very excited to be part of a profession where such progress is being made to benefit patients.
My initial goal is to qualify to practice in the US and gain significant experience in general dentistry. Ultimately, I hope to become a specialist and train, research, and teach that specialty.
I have benefited from excellent training involving a wide variety of patient types with a wide range of conditions; I excelled academically and clinically during my training; I am an ambitious and able person with considerable potential. However, my main recommendation is a genuine passion for dentistry and helping my future patients and the broader public achieve and maintain excellent dental and oral health.