I’m Rescheduling My DAT…

Some of you may recall, but earlier this summer, I announced that was taking the Dental Admissions Test or DAT in early/late August. I have been studying this summer and working up to the exam, but lately, things just didn’t seem quite right.

I was waking up in the middle of the night panicking about this exam. My brain would go through things like, “What if you fail?”, “What if you need to retake it?!”, “You’re not ready, you’re not ready, you’re not ready!!” I would literally work myself to tears. Lately, I’ve also noticed that I put off studying. I had such a good momentum going earlier this summer, but lately, I’ve honestly been avoiding it. Studying for the exam reminded me that I have to take it and that would bring all those horrible thoughts flooding back which I wasn’t fond of at all.

Pushing away my studying meant that I could not think about failure for a good portion of my day. Pushing away the organic chemistry and general chemistry and biology and math meant that I didn’t have to think about the time crunch that is the DAT and the intenseness of it all. In some ways, I’m happy that I pushed it away but I’m also frustrated with myself for allowing fear to partly be the reason I lost my motivation and momentum. I literally sobbed after canceling my original DAT appointment. SOBBED! Were they tears of joy? Sadness? Relief? I feel like it was a bit of everything. I was happy in the sense that I had just allowed myself some room to breathe and I would now have more time to prepare. I was upset because I had already spent two-ish months preparing for this exam and I was feeling like I had just wasted the money that went into that preparation. I truly felt like a failure for not just taking it when I decided to take it originally. But then with that I also felt relief in knowing that my exam was no longer weeks away, but now months away again. I also knew that I wouldn’t burn myself out coming into this semester which was REALLY important to me considering my course load for this fall.

After some thinking, and hopefully good thinking, I decided to reschedule my exam to better prepare myself mentally and truly crush this DAT. School has always been intense, especially this past year and I know that dental school is only going to be more intense, and there is going to come a time when I can’t just reschedule something until I feel more confident in my knowledge and abilities and ready to deal with that something. I’m thankful though, that I have the opportunity to learn from my DAT journey leading up to now. As of right now, the current plan is to take the DAT over Thanksgiving break. That will give me plenty of time to be very settled into my upcoming coursework and it will also give me plenty of time (hopefully!) to find my confidence in the knowledge and skills that I’ve already built for the DAT and then also to polish up everything so that I absolutely destroy this exam.

Hopefully I’ve made the right choice and we’ll see how round two of my study extravaganza goes for this monster test. Have a good week everyone and don’t be too hard on yourselves! 🙂 See you next weekend.

Take Care of Yourself

take care of yourself
Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Finals week is upon us everyone. It is finally here. Thank. Goodness. Finals can be an extremely stressful time for some people. For those of you who got lucky and only have one final this semester, I WISH I was in your shoes. That sounds like such a pleasant finals week. I’ve got three. And I have some friends that have four or five finals! During this stressful time of the school year, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself.

For those of you that go to school with me or live with me or even just talk with me every once in a while, you are more than aware of the fact that I absolutely despise my intro to evolution professor. He’s a creep. The final for that class is tomorrow and I’m THRILLED to be done with that class and never see that man ever again. With that mini celebration aside, I’ve also got two tougher finals, one for physics and another for organic chemistry.

I’ve a pretty dedicated student and already spend a lot of time studying and doing homework because I want to do well and I want to truly make sure I understand the content of the class I’m studying for. While I do go hard on the studying, I also think it’s SO important to take care of yourself and give your body and mind a break.

Whether you’re just going for a walk, doing some yoga, going to the gym, or taking some time to play a sport, I recommend getting up and moving around. Your body gets tired from sitting and studying and most people develop some sort of weird posture or their spine gets out of alignment from sitting at a desk and studying all day. I’ve had it so I know. Getting your heart rate up and moving helps clear your head too. You make yourself happier and your mind tends to focus on the task at hand as opposed to studying, so you can stress less.

Other than physical activity, I also try to get more sleep than I typically do around finals week. Most people would say, “But Ana, that’s time to study!” I get that, but I also recognize that I’m putting my mind through a lot throughout the day and the stress I already have isn’t great for my body. To prevent myself from getting sick and give my brain the best break it can possibly have, I get at least an extra hour of sleep. I try to stick to the same wake-up time, but I go to bed earlier, and so far, last year, I know that helped me feel much more productive in the mornings, so we’re going to stick to that this year too.

It’s also SO important to stay hydrated and keep your body fueled during finals week. I have some friends that say “I don’t have time to eat. That takes away from my study time.” And to that I say, you’re a fool and your body is actually going to crash on you. Take care of yourself! It’s not that hard to grab a snack if lunch takes up too much of your time. At least that’s something in your body!! Your body NEEDS energy and your brain especially does. You also need water to keep your body functioning properly and prevent yourself from getting headaches related to being hungry or dehydration. Without food, you become cranky and discombobulated anyway, so what good are you doing for yourself if you’re not eating?

So to all my fellow college kiddos out there, please take care of yourself. Please shower, please eat, and please get some sleep. You’re more prepared than you think if you’ve been studying hard and working hard all semester, so you can dedicate just a little bit more time to yourself. Of course I still want you to study hard and give it your all, but take some more time for you. 🙂 Have a good week.