Written by: Sam Miller
Sam is a member of the Class of 2021 and MU ASDA's 2018-2019 President-Elect.
Last year around this time, Tyler Robers (our past president) posted in our incoming D1 Facebook page. He invited six D1’s to attend MU ASDA’s Leadership Retreat in Madison.
Back then, I knew absolutely nothing about ASDA other than the fact that I bought their Getting Into Dental School guide [their tips worked]. Regardless, his post mentioned “all you can eat and drink,” so I sent in an application. No, I’m not a borderline alcoholic, but like most people, I was sort of anxious to start dental school without knowing anyone. I was hyped to meet some of my classmates and was curious to get a taste of what the next four years would be like.
After our Leadership Retreat in Madison, I left with a pretty brutal hangover courtesy of the all-you-can-drink section at the Madison Mallards baseball game. But I also left with a lot of new friends and an idea of what ASDA is.
You might wonder, “an idea?” Well to be honest, it took me awhile to really grasp all of what ASDA does. Throughout D1 year I tried to take advantage of all the lunch and learns, general/committee meetings, and national conferences that our obscenely busy schedule would allow. But the truth is that the largest dental student organization does A LOT, and it can be a lot to comprehend even when I took it in strides.
If I listed all of the things ASDA did nationally and locally here at MU, this website might actually crash. Instead I’m going to give a couple words of advice for D1 year: keep coming around.
At MUSoD all of us are enrolled as ASDA members so coming around and taking advantage of what ASDA had to offer—a lot of times—was of zero cost to me. The leaders know what it’s like to have an incredibly busy schedule, and they get that the last thing a D1 wants to do is commit to a larger workload. So just keep coming around when you can, and you most likely will discover a passion within our organization.
The more I kept coming around, the more I learned about our profession, the issues that affect us—and maybe most importantly—the platform for self-growth that ASDA affords us.
I was never one to be involved heavily in student organizations—honestly it just seemed like work to fluff up my application to get into school. Work in ASDA is different. Bringing together students who share a passion for dentistry is not only rewarding, but also really fun. There are some days in sim lab that can absolutely drain you. Being involved with ASDA allows me to step back from the world of millimeters and see the big picture of our profession, and why we put in the work that we do. It’s allowed me to branch out, meet friends throughout the dental school, and connect with students from all over the country. It’s truly been an introduction to lifelong involvement in organized dentistry.
Looking back, it’s crazy to think that a year ago I didn’t know a single dental student. ASDA continues to provide some of the best memories of dental school and has been truly monumental to my growth as a future provider. And it honestly all started by coming around.