27 and a PhD

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My dentist is awesome

Welcome to my blog!

Hello there, awesome reader. My name is Dr. 27. I'm older than that now, but I'm staying faithful to the origins of the blog.

This blog started 2 months before completing my PhD in a pretty southern university back in 2009. It was a way to practice my writing and take a break from all things thesis. My PhD is in a branch of structural biology where I studied some rather impressive stuff.

After completing the degree, I packed my life of 6 years in 3 days and moved to Canada to do a postdoc in a completely different field. Two years later, and after attending a lot of seminars, workshops and doing some much-needed soul-searching, I ended up getting out and looking for an alternative path to academia and industry.

The blog chronicles my mishaps, ideas, musings and tips on entering, staying and finishing grad school. It also talks about some (or a lot) of personal stuff. For a while, the blog became a place to talk about the frustrations of not knowing what to do after PhD. I wanted to explore alternatives to the traditional paths of research (academia, industry and goverment) whilst going back to my field of training (if at all possible). Eventually a job materialized. Follow my quest as I navigate the waters of being a staff scientist at a core facility.

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Finally, after 7 years of neglect (due to crappy grad school insurance and no dental insurance as a postdoc) I got my annual dental check up. I was scared to death because although I didn’t have any pain or problems with my teeth, I was scared of any unseen damage that had happened during that time. I chose a female dentist near my apartment and after filling my entry form (not too long, surprising) I was ushered in. After having the X-rays done the doctor promptly came in and greeted me. And OMG I’m in love with her!!!

Dr. N asked me in depth about family history, medical history and any problems I’ve had prior to coming to her office. At one point our conversation starts to get into science and medicine and as she reads my info, she notices that I work in a science department. Our conversation got nerdier and nerdier, and when I revealed that I had a PhD, she corrected my chart to add the doctor! She had her secretary correct some other paperwork and addressed me as doctor! I was shocked! I’ve never had anyone refer to me as doctor coming from a professional school (except to make snide remarks, very classy).

She then proceeded to work on my mouth, do a thorough examination and talk me through everything. Best examination ever!!!!! She gave me some pointers, checked the X-ray (no cavities, hell to the yeah) and gave me a bag of goodies (sadly, no lollipop). And after talking briefly about my next appointment (6-month follow up) she gave me some encouraging words about my career. I’d told her about some of the difficulties I’ve had at work (from fighting with the boss, to dealing with difficult users) and how I clench my jaw when I’m stressed. She talked about setting priorities that respect my schedule and try to control my stress levels, and how to deal with that and still be a kick ass scientist. Then she offered some encouraging words about my chosen field and expertise and gave me the biggest hug ever. It was so amazing to have another woman give me words of encouragement, followed by saying how much they admire what I do and who I’ve become.

In a way she became a cheerleader for the cause, for bringing equality to science, and to all professions and fields. She said that she knew it was a difficult path, but that I shouldn’t back down, let alone let people (read the boss or users) walk all over me. That it is hard to take a stand, but that it is up to us to get up, get out and do our job well and show that we can all do this, not just white-bearded dudes … that we’re no less and that we’re talented, passionate and wonderful.

I can’t wait for my 6-month visit 😀

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11 Comments

  1. Miss MSE says:

    You may very well have the most awesome dentist ever! I always loved talking to the dentists and hygienists about my science stuff, because they’re always so excited about the materials research and how it connects to dentistry. I’m not looking forward to finding a new dentist, though. Since my parents left my childhood region, I can’t just go to my dentist when I visit. I’ve had the same dentist since I’ve had teeth! But you give me hope that I will find another good one.

    • Dr. 27 says:

      I know eh! I know what you mean re: doctor’s we’ve known since we were young. I’ve definitely had trust issues with some doctors after I moved away from my hometown. It may take a bit of trial and error, but it’s worth it once we find a doctor we like and that listens to us and our concerns (and is not condescending).

  2. Namnezia says:

    I take it you were her first patient of the day…

  3. wow that is so sweet and encouraging! Props to her 😀

  4. What a positive dentist visit… I hope when I get out of grad school and can afford to go to the dentist again, things go as smoothly for me as they did for you. 🙂

  5. Dr. Dad, PhD says:

    I’m frightened for my next dentist visit. It’s been over…. 10 years? That can’t be good….

    As an aside, I’ve always had good experiences with pediatricians when they find out I’m a PhD. Not only are they excited, but I usually get the raw data from blood tests or even ultrasounds (sometimes even referred to as “data”) for me to look at….

    • Dr. 27 says:

      Oh dear. Yes, it was almost 7 for me, thankfully it didn’t go to bad.

      I’m glad you’ve had good experiences with pediatricians. Most of my experiences have been OK, except when the entry form asks for my title, I write it (or select it), then the MD doesn’t use it, yet insists on me calling him/her doctor …. I just breathe deep, and use their first name, hehehe (I know, I’m mean).

  6. I am a dentist in El Paso and as I was going to dental school there were a couple of very high quality female students that I knew were going to be great dentists. I respected them a lot.

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