At the end of October, I finished my last day of placement. The last day of what has become the best five years of my life. I sit here reflecting on how these five years helped me find my groove.
I still remember the exact day in March 2014, when one hundred students from every walk of life stepped into the auditorium at Griffith University’s building G40. The school orientation had just begun, and we were sorted into our groups for activities. I met seven other bright, excited and nervous dental students. It felt as if the mixed feelings were the only thing we had in common. Since then, we’ve all shared many ups and downs (definitely more ups).
From attending early morning labs, to three-hour long lectures, to intense clinical sessions, to the dreaded exam periods – we shared it all. And unlike what I expected, those were not the only shared experiences. From blossoming friendships (and love in some cases), to parties that lived up to their reputation, we became part of a social life that I hadn’t thought I’d get time for. It wasn’t easy, but it was definitely worth it. Because I know that apart from building skills and knowledge to be a good dentist, I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime.
In the very first month of living away from home, I shared an apartment with a fellow classmate. We woke up every day for a run, followed by what became our ritual – morning mocha at mine. During many runs and even more cups of coffee, I learnt how refreshing sunrises look from The Spit.
Learning to keep in touch with friends and family from home, studying and waking up early to such beautiful sunrises was sometimes hard. But with so many resources on offer at Griffith University, time management became quite easy. Academic writing workshops, research assistance from the library and the amazing academic support staff have truly helped me learn about the most effective study strategies and how to develop a good study-life balance.
During these last five years at Griffith, I have grown into a strong and well-connected professional who knows how to balance work and life. And when I think of this journey, I can’t help but feel grateful, truly grateful!