Over the winter, Diana had the chance to shadow Dr. Thomas remotely, which provided her with the ability to explore what a career as an orthodontist might look like: “I asked her a lot of questions regarding her undergraduate experience, dental school, the dental school exam, interviews, residency, and much more. She was very patient in answering all my questions and her responses were always strong and very detailed. Our follow up phone call was even better as we got to know each other a little more and it helped build a wonderful extern-sponsor relationship. My favorite part was getting to know each other; she was very open and honest with me and I will forever cherish her words of wisdom and her constant encouragement to follow what I want not what I think others want for me.” She credits her time spent learning from Dr. Thomas with giving her the ability to clarify what she wants to do professionally after her time at Ursinus.
Diana ascribes her experience with Dr. Thomas for giving her the knowledge she needs to connect her future academic goals both at Ursinus as well as graduate school to her career ambitions. “It has helped me chose what I want to do with my degree, but it has also allowed me to get a sense of my future job as an orthodontist. It has also given me an idea of the next 7 years especially regarding college and dental school. But not only has this impacted my academic life; this externship has also impacted my personal future here at Ursinus, giving me the confidence to try new things and focus on my future first,” Diana says. She looks forward to being able to apply what she has learned during her externship to future ventures here at Ursinus.
Throughout her time with Dr. Thomas, Diana learned a great deal about her intended field, which further solidified that it was what was best for her. “I did not expect to learn about specializing during dental school, to be honest I never thought about pediatric dentistry, orthodontia, or oral surgery as a specialty and thus requiring extra years in school. Dr Thomas did a wonderful job explaining all of this and helping me plan out how my dental school experience would be like. This externship has influenced my career decision a lot; it has helped me solidify my decision to become an orthodontist,” Diana adds. For those who are considering applying to the externship program in the future, she definitely suggests giving it a try. “One thing I would say to someone considering participating in an externship is to apply. You never lose anything in applying for this amazing experience. Although mine was virtual, it felt like the full experience because these sponsors are amazing people who are truly there for their externs.”