• Leah Abrams

Last Day Jitters

Did you miss us? Jerrell is officially a week into D1, and he’s coming to us this week with three fellow Howard first-year dental students: Student Dr. Andrew Thomas, Student Dr. Huonna McCarthy, and Student Dr. Urbi Tucker. All three of these guests shared their unconventional paths to dentistry—what drew them to the field, why they chose Howard, and what motivates them.

One step in that path that turned out to be a real turning point for Andrew, Huonna, and Jerrell was attending Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). Though they were all on different campuses, all three student doctors were clear: this PAID summer program exposed them not just to the joy of dentistry, but to an entire network of minority health professionals who were succeeding in dentistry and pushing the field forward.


“Dentistry is kind of like an art,” Andrew said. And Howard’s dental program is giving Jerrell and co. the creativity and flexibility to treat it as such. All four are traditional students, meaning that they opted out of taking gap years. They knew they wanted to pursue dentistry, and so they went for it right off the bat.

They also addressed the elephant in the room: online learning and how to deal with it. “I’m gonna have to know how to lean on others for support,” Huonna said, when asked how she would adjust to the virtual environment. The networks they create with their peers will carry them through a year of exams, clinics, and lectures. While meeting in person is a no-go, relying on friends and study groups becomes even more important to stay on track. Urbi says it best: it’s all about keeping to the schedule and trusting the plan.

At the end of the episode, our guests addressed something I had been wondering about: hobbies. Where do they find the time relax to when they’re studying all day every day, (ca)nine to five? It’s a mixed bag, but they’re all trying to stay in shape: Urbi with dance, Huonna in the gym, and Andrew on the golf course. Glad to know they have some ways to let loose—otherwise this whole semester would be like, ya know, pulling teeth.


Catch the full episode on Soundcloud or wherever you get your podcasts, and make sure to check out the rest of Season 1: Rookie Year for more wisdom (teeth).

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