February 6, 2011

Class President Address

This is the speech I gave at the pinning and awards ceremony.

Well we made it! We persevered through all the exams, practicums, papers, presentations and patients. We fulfilled the requirements and passed the classes. We have completed the national boards and are graduating from dental hygiene school. We will ALL pass the clinical boards in march and will be licensed hygienists by summer! What a journey it has been these past 16 months. We came in as strangers and now here we sit as a family. The bonds of friendship we have formed with each other are bonds that will last a life time. We have been through so much together. We’ve seen marriages and separations; pregnancies and deaths; joy and pain, moments of trials and moments of triumph. We have always been there to support each other and build each other up when we needed it most. I know that I have learned something from each and every one of you and have grown to become a better person because of it. I am honored to have been your class president these last two terms. I don’t know how much I was able to do for you all but I you have done more for me than you will ever know.

I was thinking back to the first time we took x-rays and it took us hours just to take an FMS. And when we thought there was no way we would ever be able to tell the working end on a gracey or how and where to use it for that matter. And then watching the instructor find 8 pieces of calculus on a quad we thought we had done great on! I was thinking of all those times when we thought that the instructors should just give us a break and give us credit because we were close enough. And as I thought back to all the experiences that we had where we thought we would never get it and I realized how lucky we were that our instructors didn’t give in. I would like to take a moment to recognize all of our wonderful faculty. Thank you for never giving up on us and never giving in. I am grateful that you never lowered your standards so that we would rise to the occasion and become the competent clinicians we are today. I hope that as we go out into the world that we will continue to strive for excellence and that we will never settle for less than our best. I am sure that if we look at a situation and say “what would I do if I were being graded on this?” we will be much more likely to make the right choice.

Now as we graduate and move on to the next stages of our lives, some of us will go on to become educators or researchers. Some will further their education to get their masters or PhDs or even go on to Dental school. Some may choose to do alternative practice or extended functions. Some may become leaders for our profession at state and national levels. Many of us will be perfectly content in private practice. But no matter what we choose to do after we leave San Joaquin Valley College, we can all make a difference in the lives of those around us.

I would like to share one of my favorite little stories with you.

One day a man was walking on a beach at low tide. All the way up and down the beach, for as far as he could see, there were starfish washed up on the shore, left to die by the receding water. As he walked along the water's edge, he saw a little boy bending down, picking up the starfish, and throwing them back into the ocean.

As the man approached the little boy he said, "Why do you waste your efforts trying to save these starfish? Don't you see that what you are doing doesn't matter, since there are too many starfish for you to possibly save them all?"

With that the little boy bent down, picked up a starfish and hurled it back into the ocean. Then he looked up at the man and said, "It mattered to that one."

My hope is that we can all strive to treat each of our patients with this in mind. I hope that we can be someone they trust and depend on and that we can make a difference to them. I’m sure we won’t be able to change the lives of every patient we come in contact with but you never know what a kind word, a friendly smile, and words of encouragement may mean to someone.

As we move on to the next stage of our careers, let us not fear change but embrace it. We must not run from adversity, criticism, and uncertainty, we must learn from it. We cannot grow as professionals and improve upon ourselves until we have faced some challenges. I encourage you all to ponder what you believe in, ponder what you stand for and to find the courage and strength to stand tall and defend that no matter what situation you are faced with. If we make up our minds now what kind of a dental hygienist we want to be, we will have a much easier time achieving it. Like the song says, “you’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

I know that all the opportunities and experiences we have had both clinically and academically here at SJVC will ensure us a long and successful career in dental hygiene. I am proud of my emeralds and I look forward to seeing the great things we will all accomplish in the future.

Wherever life takes us and in whatever different directions we may go, we will always be the Emerald Class of 2011 and we will always be a family.

A Four Hour Appointment

This is the poem I wrote for graduation. Read it while thinking of the theme to gilligans island.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale

A tale of a hectic day

It started on the clinic floor

With no time for delay.

Frazzled senior clinicians

And flakey patients too

30 students set out that day

For a 4 hour appointment, a four hour appointment

The session started getting rough

The patients getting tossed

If not for the efforts of Ms. Leon

All requirements would be lost, requirements would be lost

The day turned ‘round and the chairs were full

The duties all tended to

A few code 3’s and re-eval

A perio maintenance or two

No suction, no light, no anesthesia

No instructors in sight

we just may be here all night

So this is the tale of the Emerald’s clinic

we’re here for a long, long time
we had to make the best of things,
It was an uphill climb.

Ms. Bejarano and the faculty

Did their very best,
To make the students competent,

There was no time to rest!

So here we are at graduation my friends

We’ve passed the tests and trials

We’ve done our best, we would not rest

Now see our Emerald’s smile!

I'm Free!!!!

I just graduated from Dental hygiene school January 28th, 2011. I was the class president so I gave a speech at the pinning and awards ceremony. I also wrote a poem for the class to the theme of Gilligan's Island that another girl presented. I think it went pretty well. My family and Josh's family were both able to come for the ceremony which was fabulous having them here. My dad sang "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts, it was so sweet. I got the 4.0 award, deans list, and perfect attendance award. I was also recognized as one of the 5 students out of 30 to score over 90% on the national boards. It was a long, difficult 16 months but I was able to successfully complete the program. I am now just looking for a clinical board patient. I am taking the WREB in Phoenix this March. Then once I'm done with that I'll take a California law and ethics exam and then....I can finally put the letters RDH behind my name and get a real job! I don't know what to do with myself with all this free time. I've been reading books for fun and working out a lot more and hanging out with my girl friends (3 things I rarely if ever got to do while I was in school).

Josh is preparing to take his first round of national boards and finishing up his 2nd year of dental school. He's doing really well and is staying busy. He's involved in student government and is the CDA rep for his class. This position is one of the most prestigious because they only have 1 person for the whole 4 years. He gets to go to conventions and vote on new laws and stuff and they pay for everything! He gets pretty spoiled.

We were able to go home for christmas this year and spend time with both of our families. It's so nice that we are only 6 hours from them. I wish were able to go more often. We had a fantastic holiday.

Things overall are going so well for us and our families. We feel so fortunate to be able to pursue our dreams and educations. We have fabulous friends and families that are so supportive and helpful. We love our ward and our apartment and are very comfortable here. I am LOVING this California winter. It's been in the 70's and 80's most of Jan and Feb. I was even able to lay out before graduation! Hopefully I'll be better about blogging more than once every 4 months now that I'm done with school but you never know!