Advice for Dental Students at Maryland

Updated: Oct 6, 2019

If you're reading this, you're probably running around trying to keep up with time management like the rest of us. D1 year, you're smacked with exams after exams, with barely enough time to catch a breath. D2 year arrives and now all you see are the insides of the labs of the 5th floor; and by the time you head home, it's dark. D3 year begins full speed as you start seeing live patients, and they 'surprisingly' have more needs than your mannequin ever did. D4 year is now a blur of boards, competencies, and applications because graduation is just around the corner.

Dental school is FOUR YEARS of your life, but these years may just as well be the fastest years we sprint through. It's important to stay ahead of the game, but to also make sure we enjoy our time here. After all, you're not going through it alone. There's about 129 other students in your class, as well as multiples of this number in the classes above and below you!

Here's a few anonymous advice from upperclassmen of things they wish they knew while in your year.


1. "Don't worry too much, still enjoy this year!"

2. "Time management is key for success especially when Gross Anatomy starts."

3. "Stay the course, it gets better"

4. "Make sure to put aside time for your personal life! Balancing is key. We all get through it together!"

5. "Do not overwhelm yourself with the entire D1 curriculum year. One test at a time, one class at a time, one semester at a time, and you will complete each year one at a time."

6. "Don't obsess over studying for exams... Do your due diligence, but spend more time getting reps in lab! Those are the skills you'll need the rest of your career."

7. "It is important to take care of yourself, or you will burn out and loose motivation.

You’ll have a ton of exams in dental school, and a failing grade on a few doesn’t mean that you won’t be a great clinician."

8. "No need for advice, dental school is easier than undergrad..."

9. "Take structured breaks! Do whatever relaxes you and gets your mind off school (exercise, knitting, church, eating). Get involved with school clubs and events!"

10. "Always make time to do at least one thing you enjoy once a day, for me this was working out :)"

11. "Don't forget to enjoy the small things! It can be easy to get caught up in exams, practicals, and quizzes. Be sure to enjoy time with friends, go and explore the city, and make time for your family - it makes all the difference!"

12. "Dental school is a marathon, not a sprint... so consistency is key!"

13. "It’s hard and stressful for everyone, a lot of people just don’t want to show it or admit it. Most of the time when you bomb a test, a lot of people do too and won’t admit it... You will not do very well on some tests, don’t worry about it."

14. "Find a good study group, even if it’s just one other person."


1. "Focus on understanding lab more than understanding the smallest detail on slide 157."

2. "Work on your projects a little at a time, and then they won’t be so overwhelming."

3. "Finish your dentures early! It’s a great time to get to know the lab techs (they’ll help you way more than you know later on)."


1. "Take your competencies early- as soon as you have a patient that qualifies for one!"

2. "See as many patients as possible and don’t be afraid to go for it."

3. "Work hard, and try your best. Clinic is a growing experience, no one is perfect at anything at first. (It takes time to develop a skill.)"

4. "I give you permission to be a beginner. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes, work more slowly than you’d like, and have some not-so-happy patient experiences. That doesn’t mean you’re not a good dentist - you’re just in the process of growing confidence."

D4s. You're doing amazing at this point after having survived D1-D3 years. Aaand, truthfully the poll wasn't sent out to anyone above D4 year, so... yeah. You got this. We're all rooting for you!!

Good luck to us! WE WILL SURVIVE.

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