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Life as a dental student

studying dentistryStudying dentistry involves more than just learning about teeth. Budgeting, socialising and time management are all important skills for any successful dentistry student. Read on to find out how one student coped.

Kieran is studying dentistry at a university in Birmingham. He chose the course because it will lead to a diverse and well-paid job.
Here he talks about the highs and lows of his first year at uni.

What is the best bit of your course?

I've enjoyed the variety – we have practical sessions and lectures so it never gets boring. We have dissection classes with the medical students and get to learn about the whole body. I also can't wait to go on placement and do more hands on work but that won’t be until the third year.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

We have a full timetable. Some people don't like this, but I prefer it because your time is more structured. I get around it by treating it a bit like a 9 to 5 job, spending the whole day on campus.
It's also easy to do overdo the socialising, especially in first year! I am having a great time, but I know there’s always something I should be doing, whether it’s revising or just catching up on private study. The work never stops!
!!How do you cope with money?

It's taken a bit of time to get used to being on a student budget. I've had to cut back on shopping that's for sure. I took a gap year and saved quite a bit, which really helped. I've taken out a student loan, but I’m not worried about that as I'll get a good job when I graduate and don't have to pay it back until then. It gets harder towards the end of each term as you have less to live off. The trick is to draw up a budget, decide how much you will spend each week and stick to it.

Where do you live?

I'm in halls of residence. It's been fun living with other people as I was nervous leaving my mates back home and coming here by myself. It's self catered so I can cook and eat when I want. The only down side is having to get up earlier than my neighbours for lectures – I'm always so tempted to bang on their door on my way to uni!

Where will you be in 10 years?

I'd like to be on my way to being a partner in a dental practice. I'd like to gain experience working abroad when I graduate before I start my vocational training, but I'll see how it goes!

What do you wish you had known when you started university?

That it can be quite hard balancing studies and a social life! I've learnt to be disciplined as I just can't go out every night and make a 9 o'clock lecture any more! I’ve grown up a lot in the short time I’ve been at uni. You get less guidance here than you do at school so success of failure depends entirely on how organised you are. It’s quite scary to begin with but you get used to it.

Kieran's budgeting tip

Don't be afraid to ask for student discounts in shops. Go to the supermarket later in the day and you may find loads of stuff has reduced stickers on. We've got quite competitive about who can find the best one!

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