Shruti Sonavane - Class of 2018
Hi Shruti! We heard that you recently had a beautiful baby boy, which means you were pregnant during dental school! How did you manage dental school responsibilities and mommy responsibilities?
The motivation to finish most of the requirements before baby is born and help from my colleagues kept me on track to accomplish my dental school responsibilities. For accomplishing my mommy responsibilities I can’t thank my husband enough.
What were your biggest obstacles you faced during your pregnancy?
Lab work and tiredness at the end of day especially during third trimester.
How did you mentally and physically overcome your obstacles?
I use to meditate and do some light stretching exercises before going to bed. I would also like to emphasis that workplace environment matters a lot during pregnancy. I am lucky to have wonderful classmates, faculty and staff. My classmates helped me a lot in number of ways right from sharing notes, swapping rotation to lending their own patient to complete my requirements. I love them all!
Everybody in school took such great care of me. Especially since I am so far away from my family in India, the concern and love that people at school had showed towards me made my pregnancy a breeze.
How long were you away from school?
Was it hard to come back after your time off?
It was difficult but since I had my mom take care of the little one at home the transition was easier
What advice do you have for other females who are thinking about becoming a mom while in dental school?
If you want to be pregnant, 4th year is better. Have a list of requirements and a deadline set at least 15 days before your expected date (I delivered Ansh 3 weeks before ED) and work towards it!!
Clark McLemore - Class of 2018
Hi Clark! We heard you like doing outdoor activities when not at school! What are you favorite activities?
I love doing almost anything outdoors. I really enjoy hunting, fishing, hiking, and kayaking. Anything to get me away from downtown Birmingham and the dental school.
How long have you liked to hunt and fish?
I have been fishing since before I can even remember, my parents say I caught my first fish when I was 3. I didn’t start hunting until I was about 11 or 12 when I could use a gun.
What is the largest fish you have caught? What is the largest deer you have shot?
I caught about a 7 foot bull shark in Destin last December. The biggest deer I’ve killed was an 11 point.
There is a lot of work that goes into deer season. What do you have to do in order to prepare, and how do you balance your hobbies and dental school?
I spend a lot of time and effort preparing for the fall and winter hunting seasons. Most of the work involves driving a tractor to cut and plow fields, maintaining stands and roads on the property, and keeping game cameras out from the summer through spring to track wildlife activity while I’m not around.
What is your advice for students interested in beginning outdoor activities while in dental school?
For me the outdoors is my escape from school and the stresses of life, it helps me decompress. Oak Mountain State Park, Ruffner Mountain Park, and Red Mountain Park are just a few of the many places around Birmingham that someone can get out and start enjoying the great outdoors.
Austyn Grissom - Class of 2018
Hi Austyn! We heard that you went on a mission trip this summer! Where did you go and for how long?
I went to Trujillo, Honduras for 10 days at the beginning of our summer break.
Who did you go on the trip with?
There were 95 people on the mission with us. The group was made up of surgeons, nurses, optometrists, speech pathologists, pharmacists, and many others who were willing to serve.
What type of procedures did you do? How many patients were treated?
Our dental team was administering fluoride treatments and extracting teeth. We treated a different village each day; we were able to see over 300 patients and extracted 490 teeth.
Could you tell us about the conditions you worked in?
Our clinic was set up in a building that a church from Ohio built about 10 years ago. The church actually had medical & dental missionaries working in that facility full time for several years so the setup was pretty nice and similar to what we have in the States, minus the central air-conditioning and running water.
What was your favorite part?
The people. They were so happy to have us there and grateful for the care that we were able to provide to them. No matter how hot it was or how long they had to wait, there was always going to be a hug, handshake, or “gracias” at the end of the procedure.
What was your least favorite part?
The communication barrier. Even though we had a couple of awesome translators, it still takes an aspect of patient care away when you’re communicating through a third party.
What is your advice for anyone who is looking to go on a mission trip while in dental school?