Hygiene Edge is excited to announce the winner of our 1st Student Essay Contest- Taylor Robell! Taylor is currently a second year dental hygiene student at Fortis College in Phoenix, Arizona. We've included her essay "Ways to Say Positive in Dental Hygiene School" below for both students and current hygienists to learn from.
I look back on my first week of dental hygiene school with a sort of fond envy. I was so full of excitement and energy, two things which are hard to come across as a second year dental hygiene student. I will admit that the stress and demand of school has taken a toll on my sanity and my social life, but I’ve found little ways to cope and keep my chin up:
1. Do something simple and fun. Doing small things that interest you has been proven to help boost positivity and productivity. It’s science! I like to do small crafts and DIY projects that I can use around the house. Online shops like Darby Smart have tons of simple and easy project ideas. If you’re on a budget, Do it on a Dime is a great YouTube channel for projects using items found at the dollar store.
2. Start a motivational Pinterest board. It might sound cheesy, but never underestimate the power of Pinterest. There are tons of motivational quotes and stories on Pinterest that you can reference. There are also plenty of dental hygiene memes which are good for a laugh when you need it most!
3. Set short-term goals. We all know that graduating and passing boards is the end goal, but long-term goals don’t do much for present day positivity. It doesn’t have to be anything major to have a big impact. My current goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day. Setting measurable and attainable goals can be huge for your happiness.
4. Start a thought journal. One of the things I struggled with the most initially was bringing my stress home and letting it rub off on my family. Instead of venting about how miserable I was at school that day, I write it down and let it exist only on the pages of my journal. It’s made me a happier person and helped my relationships as well.
5. Try a new recipe. Think back to anatomy and physiology and release those endorphins by eating something delicious! The All Recipes app is a great tool for discovering new recipes. The “Dinner Spinner” feature allows you to select recipes that take a certain amount of time. It’s perfect for busy college students who don’t have hours to spend making food!
6. Build a support system. The one redeeming factor about dental hygiene school is that you’re not alone. Simply surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be a gratifying tool for coping with stress. If you haven’t already, get together with classmates outside of school. Try new things and enjoy the moment you’re in.
7. Do something nice for someone else. One thing that never fails to recharge my passion for life is helping others. But you don’t have to donate hours of your time at the local food bank to accomplish this. Simply buy a stranger’s coffee or help an elderly woman with her groceries and I promise you’ll feel the difference almost instantly.
8. Remember that it’s okay to ask for help. It is so important to constantly evaluate your well-being and mental health. Dental hygiene school can be a major life-changing event, so know the symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you feel that way, you’re not alone. Roughly 30% of college students report feeling so depressed that it’s difficult to function. Know the signs and know when to get help.
It’s no secret that dental hygiene school is a constant battle. But with the right tools and an army of support, you won’t have to fight alone!
Thank you to all the students who entered! We loved each essay and how personal and pertinent the topic is to current dental hygiene students.