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How to Permanently Overcome Fear

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Strength is the courage you muster to do even the things that seem impossible. Every choice in life is based on previous experiences that determines your destiny. It always brings me back to my childhood when visiting a dentist was my biggest fear. I still can remember when my mother was giving me her advice if you truly want something you need to go out and get it, and that is why persistence best defines me. My love of science and aspiration for a medical career was reflected in fulfilling all the requirements and earning a grant from the Ministry of Higher Education to continue my studies in Science. Dentistry seemed to be an ideal career choice where my artistic skills, abilities, and discipline could be used. Regardless of the obstacles and roadblocks that are faced along the way, with passion and perseverance, I kept grinding until I reach my goal and became the first dentist in my family.

Being determine opens up opportunities that otherwise would not exist. As a woman from Saudi Arabia, pursuing advanced studies in the United States by myself was not an easy choice, but I enjoy the challenge particularly towards a rewarding objective. I went to the United States for the first time in my life in 2011, I visited some dental schools and I was fascinated with the education system. So, I promised myself that I would come back for something even better. My dream starts to be true by winning a scholarship for postgraduate studies. Therefore, I decide to invest in myself by determining my objectives in three areas: Assisting a faculty in a beneficial scientific research, developing clinical proficiency, and being effective to society through campaign events and activities.

Accordingly, I conduct a study in my Internship year called “Caries Detection by Visual Inspection of Newly Graduate Dentists in Riyadh City” and to be the leader of my team. I presented our research at the 5th Annual Research Day. Thanks to our sense of common purpose; our research study got accepted for poster presentation in AEEDC Dubai 2015 then got accepted for publication in the International Journal of Oral Health and Dental Management. Consequently, I learned from this experience how to write a justification for the need to carry out a research study, construct a hypothesis, and to outline a general plan for data collection.

One such a person was Dr. Jamal Al Sanea, a successful orthodontist who graduated from respectful US University and was my mentor at dental school. With his experiences and what I learned from him, I have developed my love for the field of orthodontics and my excitement and knowledge grew through time. To further my insight into the field, I participated in a shadowing program at the Orthodontics Department. I gained a valuable understanding of how I can provide harmony and balance between the patient’s facial, dental and skeletal components, with opportunities to observe and demonstrate proper analytical skills of orthodontic records. What I loved in this specialty is thinking outside of the box to solve a mix of common and uncommon problems. It offers a wide variety of cases, and the possibility to make a real difference in the lives of patients and their families. It can be enormously gratifying filed by building a long-term relationship with the patient; that involves commitment and gratitude.

My experience and work in a voluntary capacity have been strengthened in my commitment and desire to become an orthodontist. I decided to attend the Advanced Clinical Training Program in Orthodontics at UCLA. Attending the program ignited my passion even further and proved to me that I am on the right path. I have acquired the background of the biomechanical principles of orthodontic theory and employ the latest technologies to help address the problems. The diversity of classes and the multidisciplinary approaches taught at the school have made me understand how treatment from various dental disciplines must be integrated to provide a comprehensive treatment plan with the most stability post-retention. I have developed my interest in research after I participated in the UCLA Dental and Craniofacial Research Institute, I was fortunate to join a research team under the supervision of my program director. The research project was investigating the treatment effects of mini-implants assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion. This experience enhanced my team building abilities and how to cope with stress and pressure.

The investment in youth is the real investment. My contribution to volunteer work started at an early age and I continue by being involved. I got the passion for social responsibility by feeling overwhelmed after every campaign I participated with. Over the years, I have helped to organize conferences and community projects and I educated the children in multiple Oncology Department of Riyadh hospitals and disabled children association. Through the close interaction with terminally ill patients and physicians, I expanded my confidence and interpersonal communication skill. Afterward, I was elected to be a public speaker at King Salman Social Center for a year. I believe all the qualities I have developed through my experience are essential to show a real example to follow.

I strive to have this opportunity, which will bring me to a higher level by getting a good quality of education, best practice, leadership experience and being a part of a respectful team to give back to my country and community. My future aspirations are to enter into the world of work and education by reaching academic and clinical opportunities through attaining an M.S. in oral science and pursuing a career in orthodontics.

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