Graduation Awards- So What?

A few weeks ago, Shelley, Jessica and I attended the graduation ceremony of the Dental Hygiene School we teach at. I sat in the audience and watched each student happily except their diploma and gain a degree, a career, and a social life all in one 10 foot stroll across a stage. And I’m sure like most dental hygiene school graduations, several students received awards for their time in school, from being awarded the “Golden Scaler” award for their clinical skills, to being a “Future Leader” for their volunteer work in SADHA and other dental events. Students were also recognized being  part of the SADHA leadership,  helping with volunteer events, and going on service trips while during their time in school.

When I was a student, I did none of this. I didn’t win any awards at my graduation. I wasn’t recognized for my hard work or my leadership qualities at this ceremony (let’s be honest- I was quiet and wasn’t part of the SADHA leadership at all, so that makes sense).  I went on a mission trip as a senior, but nothing was said about it since a few students went on 2 or 3 during school.  

Honestly, that graduation night I had so many emotions. So happy to finally be finished a huge and hard chapter of life, grateful my parents were there from Canada to cheer me on, but also a bit heartbroken not to receive any recognition of my 2 year time frame in school. Was I really that bad of a clinician/student/person? All the self doubt crept up that evening. Maybe dental hygiene wasn’t for me?

Fast forward 10 years later, and I know that any of that self doubt that evening was in vain. I’ve learned so much about hygiene, our profession and myself over years. I’ve learned that these awards may seem important at that very moment at graduation, and may be nice to add to a resume, but there are so many other ways to pad a resume, find a dream job, and continually grow and improve in our profession.  

So, if you’re a recent grad, congratulations! Did you just barely pass your classes? Who cares. You did it! You didn’t receive any awards during your time in school? So what. That’s just a blip in time. Are you questioning if hygiene is for you? You got this! Try it out and see instead of making up your mind before stepping into an office.

 I’m excited for you! And we here at Hygiene Edge are rooting for you at any stage.


We’d love to chat with any new (or more seasoned) dental hygienists! Email us with your thoughts or questions at, or comment below!