During her time at Pediatric Dental Associates, Andrea got to explore all parts of a running dental practice, from viewing composites, sealing, and routine cleanings, to sitting in on a variety of other procedures. In the process, Andrea learned a lot about what it takes to be a pediatric dentist. “I learned that being a pediatric dentist requires a lot of patience and positivity. Children are fun to work with and can make you laugh until you can no longer breathe but they can also be hard to work with. Thus, this externship opened my eyes to the reality of the job whether it be as a pediatrician or a pediatric dentist,” Andrea adds. Not only that, but Andrea gained a trusted mentor in her externship advisor, who she credits for giving her great advice and being supportive of her future career decisions.
Andrea knows that her time at Ursinus prepared her for her externship experience, but not only that, her time at her externship has also greatly influenced what she wants to accomplish here at UC. She says that, “The externship oriented my career at Ursinus in such a way that I am now looking for more opportunities to get involved and shadow, volunteer, apply for externships/internships, etc. It inspired me to get out there and take any opportunity I can get doing what I love.”
Working with her externship mentor allowed Andrea to learn a lot about her future and what it might look like, and she now knows that the externship program itself played a major role in that. “I learned so much regardless of the field and it made me learn so much about myself and how I work best - or will work best. It is not just about the experience. It is about finding your passions, your likes, your dislikes, and finding who you are within the real world,” she says. Even though this experience has shown her she is not interested in pursuing pediatrics further, Andrea adds that the experience was immensely rewarding, in large part due to the many connections she was able to make while at Pediatric Dental Associates. Andrea writes that, “The greatest reward had to be the relationships and connections I made in the clinic. All of the dental hygienists, dental assistants, and even Dr. Thomas herself, were so kind to me and took me under their wing for the few days I was there. I felt at home, surprisingly, and it eased the experience for me.”