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A different dental graduates perspective

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A different dental graduates perspective

Andrew Fieldhouse makes a very positive statement in changing from an unsatisfying career path to achieving his dream of becoming a dentist.

Graduation day arrived

It really was the proudest moment of my life. My name was called and I marched on to the stage to shake the hand of the Dean and his fellows, each in turn offering words of congratulations. We had been told to walk off the stage but I couldn't help but look up at the gallery where my friends and family stood. I paused for a moment and looked at my parents with their huge smiles and I held up that elaborate certificate in its case and mouthed the words "thank you". For me my journey into this profession as a dentist wasn't like many of my peers but then I always did like to do things differently.

Looking back

My dream career started like I'm sure many others do. At the age of five, my friends all wanted to be pilots and firemen but I always knew I wanted something different. I used to love going to the dentist and looking in the mouths of my family as they were having checkups. Our family dentist was extremely passionate with his work and definitely inspired me. He would enjoy showing me all the things he was looking for and finding, much to the horror of my big sister who didn't share my enthusiasm!

Change of course

My teenage years were a trying time for my parents and I. Foolishly I let my dreams slip away and focused my mind on things far from education and bettering myself. Unfortunately the fire in my heart had gone and even now I couldn't really tell you why. I faded away from education after sixteen and carved a career for myself in the pub industry from the ground up. The life of sleeping all day and working all night set in and as I moved up the ladder to assistant manager the long hours and pay weren't satisfying me.

It's never too late

I received in the post an unexpected offer for a great position in a large club in Newcastle. This letter changed my life as it set me contemplating my childhood dreams. The pleasure I received from looking at my families teeth was a joy I had never really felt in my working life. By the next day I had decided to be a dentist and make my childhood dream come true. In my mind I felt so happy, driven and determined. I was in my 20's and my boss and friends thought me crazy and too old to start. After discussing with my parents they thought they thought that if I didn't try I would never forgive myself. Therefore with some savings from working and parental help, we all agreed that we would find a way to achieve my dental career.

Hard graft

I quit my job the next day and signed on for my A-levels. This felt so liberating but the reality hit me very hard. There was no guarantee of a place in dental school let alone becoming a dentist. My GCSE grades were fine in the working world, but lacked a string of A*'s. I figured that if with good A-levels that it could perhaps be ok. I felt so strong in my conviction that it had to work out. My free time was spent working in a dental surgery and that just ignited my passion even more. University application time came around and I felt with my A-levels and work experience, that I stood a fighting chance. Unfortunately only one of my picks wanted to interview me and to make matters worse the night before the interview I was involved in a car accident. I was so worried that cancelling the interview would be my only chance gone and as nothing was broken I discharged myself from hospital.The interview wasn't awful but I most definitely wasn't in a state to do myself justice. My worst fears came true and I was unsuccessful with my application.

Studying abroad

I read the rejection letter out again and again hoping I had misunderstood. Although numb and sick to my stomach there was no regret in gambling my career for a better life. I knew I had made the right choice and I wasn't going to give up that easily. I ignored all the "I told you so's" because behind it all I had my faithful parents. Their support has never faltered and it has really kept me strong. I researched every possibility and my A-level Biology teacher set off a light bulb moment, she suggested studying abroad. I found a university that offered international places and the degree was fully accepted in England. After contacting them an interview and entrance exam were arranged. This time I was accepted but also had to read this letter several times just to make sure! The school was tough and extremely strict but nothing could stand in my way. I was passionate and studied hard. When I received my pass, not only were my parents extremely proud but it was the first time I was proud of myself. No matter how impossible or how far away my dreams seemed I never gave up and worked so hard to make them real. My message to anyone who cares to read this is that no matter how impossible your dreams may be if you never try then they will always be just a dream. In life you tend to regret far more things you never try than things you try and fail at.

Dr Andrew J. Fieldhouse D.M.D.

Dental Protection is the leading indemnity provider.
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