COVID-19 – A student’s perspective

Every dentist knows that spring semester of D4 year is full of excitement and stress. Imagine all the obstacles you faced … and now add the coronavirus. I never imaged that my D4 year would end this way – all my appointments canceled for the last half of the semester and very little word on how, when, or IF I was going to graduate. Many of my classmates have requirements to finish, licensure exams that have been postponed, and some are even expected to report to the military for bootcamp right after our “graduation,” which, if I haven’t mentioned, has been postponed. I was looking forward to savoring every last day with my fellow classmates who have been by my side through this long journey. That has been stripped from me too. However, life is always full of unexpected turns, and the coronavirus is proving the same. 
The biggest problem with graduating during a pandemic is the same for everyone across the board – it’s an unprecedented time so we are all having to figure it out as we go. Rightly so, the college has not wanted to release information before they are certain that their schedules and plans will ensure competency and comply with accreditation. That has also meant that, as students, we have been left in the dark for long periods of time wondering whether we are going to graduate on time or be delayed. It’s easy to point fingers, but the truth is that no one is quite sure how to handle the situation, making it frustrating and anxiety inducing for all parties involved. As classmates and I have been trying to plan future steps we have relied a lot on one another to try to navigate this unprecedented time. Our group chat obviously has had some negative comments, but to my surprise, I have found more laughs and comfort than I ever imagined. I have started communicating with my fellow peers that I rarely talked to and have felt more united with my class than ever. Difficult times always bring people together, and this is no exception. People keep telling me that the class of 2020 will look back on this and laugh. They’re right, but, honestly, we’re already starting to laugh at our situation. What else is there to do?
With school canceled for the remainder of the semester and many requirements still on hold for those anticipating graduation, it would be easy to have a defeatist attitude. However, my classmates have overall remained very positive. Watching people put their own ambitions aside for the health and well-being of the community makes me proud to be a part of this profession. 
All in all, I am proud to be a part of a profession that will always put our patients first, no matter the cost. For many, that has meant closing practices for weeks during this pandemic, but for me and my classmates, it has meant throwing away our cap and gown order forms for the graduation we’ve been dreaming of for eight years. Despite my disappointment, I am also happy to make the small sacrifices that I can to promote the health and well-being of all. I pray that this symbol of sacrifice will prompt the class of 2020 to be united in making our careers one of continual service.