Monthly Archives: September 2010

Working with my newest teacher and his sassy assistants

I started my new “medical mentorship” last week with a local dentist just down the street and across from the UMC medical and dental schools. First, I should explain that a Millsaps Medical Mentorship is a program that pairs students up with local professionals, usually in the field or fields that students think they may want to enter after college, and gives credit for shadowing that professional for the semester. So, as I am interested in dentistry, I was matched with a local family practicing dentist, who also teaches Endodontics at the dental school.

I thought I knew what to expect, having seen working dental practices before, but these first two weeks proved me wrong. The practice is small as Dr. W does not have any partners, and I had no idea just how loud and sassy a team of three employees could be. His chair-side assistant is young and fun and already treats me like a BFF, and the receptionist tries to pick fake fights with her all the time. They even have an imaginary line that divides the practice in half; when one crosses the line, the proverbial gauntlet is considered thrown.

But Dr. W is a great teacher and I already love spending my time there. I’ve seen root canals and restorative amalgams, cavities and dental nerve tissue, as well as begun building my arsenal of dentistry vocabulary words. Aside from seeing the patients and watching dentistry in action, I also get to hear stories “from the front,” from a patient that Dr. W saw as a resident that turned out to be a convicted murderer, to people with such drastic side effects to simple medications that they ended up with thick infections in their mouths (too gross?) and everything in between. It gives me a solid, realistic look at the medical world that I am seeking and is also teaching me priceless lessons in people skills and how to treat your patients. Just a hint- if you’re looking at taking the health sciences route, sometimes the toughest guys with the biggest muscles hate needles more than anyone else and take a little pep talk to calm down…

If you are interested in pre-health while you are in college, do some sort of mentorship. It opens you up to the real world of medicine and gives you an up-close-and-personal look at the patients and cases you will see on a daily basis, and also some of the wild cases you will just encounter every now and then. Most important for me, it’s going to help me decide if this is really what I want to do, or what type of dentistry I want to specialize in. The worst thing I could imagine would be to go to all the trouble of applying to dental school, get in, and work really hard, only to find that it’s not for me. But if the mentorship continues to be as great as it is so far, I don’t think that will ever happen.


My texting skills have met their match…

I am one fierce text-er. I know that most young people are these days, but… I’m going to assert that I can probably text most other college students into the ground. That being said, I have now faced a new challenge: touch screen texting.

The story behind my new touch screen phone is actually one that caused me a lot of stress and anger in the past several days. It all started with my old phone slowly refusing to charge when I plugged it into the wall. I would have to turn the charging cord every which way inside the phone to finally get the electricity flowing, and then one day it just decided to quit taking a charge at all. This obviously meant that time was ticking. Once the phone died, it was gone for good. This predicament set me out on a mission to my provider’s local store. To avoid placing ignominy and shame on my particular company, I will just call it Cell Phone Company…

So off I went to the Cell Phone Company store. One lesson that is sometimes hard-learned in college is how to deal with difficult situations without the help of Mom and Dad. This particular situation is a perfect example. So in I went into the Cell Phone Company store and found the nearest employee, whom I unfortunately did not realize would be the type of person who would make me want to pull my hair out. Let’s call this lovely person Kevin. Kevin took me under his wing and proceeded to tell me all about the great phones that Cell Phone Company now offered and quickly had me set up with a new phone that was going to be free after all the rebates and “specials”. When Kevin actually  decided to listen to me and realized that I was not, in fact, eligible for an upgrade and that I was really just needing a replacement, he promptly told me that the phone that was going to be free was actually going to cost $200. When I said no, he suggested that I just file a warranty claim and have a new phone mailed to me. I agreed.

Kevin took my dying phone behind a screen to “check it out,” then returned, claiming that he wanted to show me something. He pulled the charging port right out of the phone, then stated that I had clearly jammed the charging port maliciously and that it was entirely my fault and, consequently, warranty would not be covering the replacement. He kindly handed me a pamphlet on insurance coverage for phones and tried to send me on my merry little way. When I asked him about backing up my 179 contacts, he said that it was not possible because of the port being missing (it was only missing because he removed it) and then smiled and said, “WELL! I guess it’s time to decide which of your contacts are really important to you and are worth keeping! I suggest typing them individually into your computer… it’s a lot quicker than handwriting them.” He said with a gleam in his eye. Kevin and I were no longer friends, if we ever had been in the first place.

Once I was back home filing an insurance claim, I found out that insurance said it was a warranty problem, while warranty said it was an insurance problem. I found myself locked in a 30 minute conversation with Technical Support on the phone and ended up having to buy a new phone anyway. It came in the mail three whole days after my old phone died. I would like to say that it’s really liberating not having a cell phone for a few days… but it was actually just very stressful and caused me a handful of headaches. If I never had to see Kevin again with his snarky little smirk, it would be too soon.

I can say with conviction that I do like this new phone, which is good. The texting, however, will have to be practiced. Today, it took me five tries to type the word “through,” as it evolved from “trough” to “thrpygh” to “througj” and then back to “trough.” I am choosing to look at this entire journey as a learning experience. I learned how to use self-control to keep me from round-house kicking Kevin, and also how to operate a touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. I’m sure my sweet friends (who still love me no matter how many times I have asked to use their phone in the last five days) will endure misspelled words and senseless text messages until I can return my skills to their previous level of excellence.

Birthday girls

I am lucky enough to live on a hall surrounded by some of my best friends and sorority sisters. We live in the newest residence halls on campus, so our set-up is pretty nice. We each have our own room, equipped with a double bed and a sink in the room, and we share the bathroom with one other person. When I stepped out of my room yesterday morning, I saw something that was different in the hall and had to investigate. My friend Amy’s door was covered with “Happy 21st Birthday, AMY!” papers and messages.

For some reason, when I was younger, I thought that birthday parties would fizzle out of existence as I got older. I guess I just thought that as we all accumulated more and more years and had more and more birthday party experiences under our belts, the excitement of a birthday would weaken. Turns out, that’s not true at all. I think they actually get more exciting…

When I was a freshman (I’m a junior now), for instance, one of my best friends and my “big sis” in my sorority told me that she wanted to take me out for a nice dinner for my birthday and then we would go out with all our girlfriends afterwards. She came and picked me up at my dorm and took me to Bravo, a super yummy, kinda fancy local favorite in Jackson. When we walked in, I saw a table full of people covering their faces with quivering menus… then I realized I recognized them all. SURPRISE! I’d never had a surprise party before. We had a great night.

So last night, we took Amy to La Caz, a mexican restaurant, with the rest of our hall and some other friends, along with her boyfriend, who I thought handled a table full of giddy girls miraculously well. If she thought she was going to get away without being crowned with the giant sombrero and serenaded with Mexican folk songs by the end of the meal… she must have been dreaming. She also had the cutest cupcakes I’ve ever seen; they were strawberry cupcakes with little martini glasses drawn in icing and a Red Hot candy as the olive. They even had little toothpick stubs sticking into the glass. Adorable.

So rest assured. Birthdays live, even as you age. I’m not sure if there is a moral to this story or not (probably not)… maybe just, come to college so you can have the greatest birthday parties ever? Sure; I think that’s a good enough reason.

Ready for a sporty weekend

Me, Alex, and my roommate VictoriaNot everybody at the Saps (Millsaps, for those who don’t yet speak the lingo) is a college-registered athlete. Sure, we have a high number of student-athletes who excel both in the classroom and on their respective field or court, but the rest of the student body, myself included, prefer various types of less competitive recreational exercise, if that. I myself do love hitting the tennis courts every once in a while, or finding a couple of hours each week to make an appearance at the HAC (or, Halls Activities Center- the student gym), but couldn’t imagine being as skilled  and dedicated as the Millsapians who play for our school. So for those of us who don’t get all the exposure to organized sports as the student-athletes do, there are weekends when several of the sports teams all happen to be exhibiting their coordination prowess at the same time.

This upcoming Friday-Sunday is going to be one of those weekends. The famed “Backyard Brawl” is taking place this Saturday night, and this year, it will be in our “backyard”. Millsaps and Mississippi College’s annual showdown on the football field always draws a giant crowd of students, parents, and alumni who deck themselves out in various shades of purple to cheer on the Majors. If the giant purple blob of fans in the stands isn’t intimidating enough to the opposing team and their support, there is always the emphatic student section to make them realize exactly who they are up against. Instead of filing into the stands, students set up camp right behind the southern end zone, and bring plenty of tents, couches, tables, and food with them. The action is always right in front of us, and as long as nobody takes a stray field goal ball to the face, it’s a good time for everyone. The Choctaws won’t stand a chance!

Along with the annual grudge match, the volleyball team and soccer team will also be throwing down the gauntlet against other colleges this weekend. One of the great things about attending a smaller school is the fact that you are bound to know some of the players on each team, and that fact makes the games so much more exciting! I mean, I love a good soccer game, but it is even better when you can shout at your friends and suitemates on the field from the stands. You can bet we will all be doing such a thing this weekend, along with getting our dose of competition for the month. It’s going to be a good weekend…