Dr. Ayomide Ogunye is a 26 year old first generation Nigerian-American from Houston, Texas who just recently moved to Dallas. She is outgoing and natural “people’s person” which definitely makes dentistry the perfect profession for her. In her free time, she enjoys traveling (pre-COVID of course), reading, binge watching Netflix shows and of course turning up. Her mantra is to work hard and play even harder. I asked her about her journey to becoming a Dentist. If you're curious about her journey keep reading.
What inspired you to want to become a dentist? Have you always wanted to be one?
I’ve actually wanted to be a dentist since I was ten years old. When I was in the 4th grade I was a very troublesome child. In hindsight, my bad behavior can truly be attributed to the fact that I wasn’t challenged enough in school. Long story short, I was one of the few Nigerian children whose parents followed through on the threat of sending them to school back home to get a sense of discipline. During that summer I lived with my auntie, Dr. Yinka Adeyinka, an orthodontist in Victoria Island. I observed and admired her for months, finally making the decision at a young age that dentistry was my future.
Describe your journey to becoming a dentists? (ex: what you studied in undergrad? what tests you had to take to get in, etc?)
My journey to dentistry was actually a bit unique. Because I knew from such a young age that I wanted to be a dentist, I applied for accelerated 7-year B.S./DDS programs my senior year of high school. Only about 15 schools in the country offer this program so it was a very competitive process. However, by the grace of God I was accepted to the University of Detroit Mercy’s program. I was a biology major for my 3 undergrad years and loved it. The test required for dental school admission is called the DAT. My cohort took the exam the summer after our sophomore year. Most applicants will take the exam the semester before they apply.
What are the requirements for dental school?
Every dental school has different requirements, but the prerequisites are the most important aspect. A common misconception is that one must be a STEM major to apply to dental school but that’s not the case. As long as the necessary prerequisites are taken (Biology 1 & 2 with labs, General Chemistry 1 & 2 with labs, Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 with labs, Statistics and Biochemistry) along with a 20+ DAT score and competitive overall and science GPA, dental school is more than attainable. You will also need letters of recommendation, shadowing experience and community service hours.
How did you decide what dental school to go to? What factors should people look out for?
I chose based off of the program that I was accepted into. I will say the biggest factors to look out for are COST (because loan repayment is REAL lol), clinical requirements and overall preparation the school provides before going out into the real world. Another key factor is class size. Because we live in a money driven society, many dental schools increase the class sizes for profit. It is a must to make sure that you go to a school that still has a reasonable ratio of students to faculty in order to get the necessary attention required to succeed.
Did you have any obstacles along the way? How did you overcome that?
“Yes, yes! A thousand times, yes!” Getting into dental school is a struggle but getting through dental school is a whole different beast. Adjusting to 28-30 credit hour semesters, sleepless nights, sim lab requirements, board exams, work/life balance and other personal struggles took a lot out of me those 4 years. But I overcame it by having a wonderful support system in my family, friends and classmates; but above all it was prayer and grace that saw me through. I cried openly at my graduation dinner because I know the things that God brought me through while in Detroit. IYKYK.
What's the best piece of advice you received?
“Always strive to be a lifelong learner. The best doctors don’t stop the quest for knowledge and excellence once they walk across the stage”.
Now that you've finished Dental School, what do you do now?
I currently work as a general dentist in the DFW area. I love my new-ish life as a dentist so much! I tell all my friends still in school to just hang on…it gets so much better.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to become a dentist?
Make sure that you shadow as many dentists as you can before starting your journey. Perhaps even get a part-time job as a dental assistant. You will have a one-up on all of your colleagues with some experience before dental school. It’s also important to make sure that you can truly see yourself doing this for the rest of your life, because the road to dentistry is not easy. But it is rewarding if it’s your true calling! For anyone who wants more detailed advice on getting into dental school or anything else, you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org