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The road to dental graduation

in Final year of dental school

The road to dental graduation

Andrew Wilson recently graduated and he shares his experience in the lead up to that all important degree.

This is me on the day I graduated from Bristol University. Look at me. Happy. Fresh faced. Proudly holding the degree which took me five years to attain. Graduation is not your day. Graduation is a day for your parents. All you have to do is sit in the right seat and then shake hands with some dignatory at the appropriate moment. My overriding memory of the day is sitting in a scorching hot hall in thick, black robes that gently poach you in your own liquids. Look at my face in the photo and you can just spot how clammy my forehead is. The robes disguise my sweat patches. It's all for show. I'm not even holding my degree in my hands. I'm holding a bit of pipe from one of the university toilets with a ribbon wrapped around it. Of course I'm being a bit silly. It will be the last time everyone will come together as a year group. One final goodbye before you get dragged into the real world. But how do you get there? There are a few exams to contend with and when you first sit down to start work, Graduation can feel a long way away. I aim to give a few tips on how to pass your final exams, tell you what I think worked for me and also tell you where I  was wrong.

1. Work hard. It seems a silly thing to say but it is the key element to passing your exams. People who work hard will rarely fail. And if you work hard you can have no regrets. If you fail after trying your best it will be disappointing. Of course it will. But you can have no regrets because all you can do is TRY YOUR BEST.

2. Make a plan. Plan your revision and STICK TO IT. Be realistic. Don't plan to work from 9 am until 11 pm. It's impossible. Your revision won't be effective and you will waste time. Your brain will turn to mush and your body will quickly follow, which leads nicely to my next point...

3. Look after yourself. I know it's hard. I became so focused on work that I threw all my rules completely out of the window. I had been eating well and exercising regularly. Then, two weeks before my last exams I went completely mad. I stopped looking after myself and by the time of my exams I had become a wreck. So DON'T DO WHAT I DID. Eat properly and cook homely food. Make sure you exercise at least a couple of times a week (I embraced yoga.) Go to bed at a reasonable time. A healthy body means a healthy mind and a healthy mind has never been as important as when it comes to your finals.

4. Treat yourself. This is very simple but it is important to reward your hard work. For some people this might be chocolate. For some people it might be going to the cinema or watching that TV show you like. But make sure you take the time to do whatever makes you happy.

5. Play a team game. Whether you like it or not, getting a BDS is a team game. Revise together. Cook for each other. Life is a lot easier if you know someone is going to cook you dinner. And you're much more likely to make an effort to cook something nice for a friend. TALK TO EACH OTHER. Share how you are feeling. You're all going through the same thing. So help each other.

6. Get some rest. The night before your exams is the most important time for a treat (unless your treat is beer). You won't learn anything the night before. So take it easy. Watch some telly. Don't bother staying up all night revising. Nothing is going to sink in. Just try to rest, safe in the knowledge that you have tried your best to prepare yourself. What will be will be.

It all sounds very simple when you put it like that. I know it's not. I know because I did it. There will be good and bad times but there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. My first point is the only one that really matters. Try your best and you can have no regrets. I hope this is helpful. The best of luck to everyone about to undertake some exams. Enjoy your last days as a student. You will miss them when they're gone. One last thing. The worst that can happen is you won't pass. It's not all bad. If you fail, think of it as a reprieve from the real world. Graduating is overrated.

Andrew Wilson

Dental Protection is the leading indemnity provider.
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