Embarking on the path of becoming a dental professional is a remarkable journey filled with challenges, triumphs, and personal growth. Reflecting upon my journey, I am filled with a profound sense of passion, persistence, and purpose that has guided me through these years at IMU.
In this article, I aim to share my unique journey and the challenges and triumphs that have shaped me into the professional I am today. Join me as I delve into the fantastic world of dentistry and its profound impact on my life.
I had the opportunity to pursue my Bachelor of Dental Surgery at International Medical University, the leading private healthcare university in Malaysia and have graduated in June 2023. I am currently waiting for my compulsory government posting.
During my fascinating five-year dental school journey, I embraced academic challenges and clinical experiences, growing my knowledge and skills. In dental school, there are mainly two phases, the pre-clinical and clinical phases. In IMU, we were introduced to the clinic in our 4th Semester, treating simple cases while closely supervised by our lecturers.
We were also taught Medical Sciences alongside our medical colleagues, which allowed us to treat patients more holistically. These are a few modules that I have gone through.
I was also able to conduct dental research which was so exciting! Besides that, there were Professional and Personal Development and Outreach Modules as well. From the rigorous academic coursework to the hands-on clinical experiences, I have savoured every opportunity to expand my knowledge and refine my skills. I was happy to learn from dedicated faculty, collaborate with peers, and be mentored by seniors.
Coming from Kuching, Sarawak, and being a proud Sarawakian native, my roots have instilled a deep sense of community and compassion. And during my dental school journey, I was privileged to be actively engaged in community work. I received recognition for my efforts, receiving the Distinguished Performance in Community Care Award sponsored by Dato’ Dr Ng Jet Wei. As past president of the Oral Health Week event, I successfully led a team that raised RM10,000 and spread vital oral health awareness to the IMU community.
Additionally, as the Executive Producer of The Smile Project Podcast at IMU, I connected with professionals worldwide, broadening dental knowledge within the community. Beyond these endeavours, I collaborated with passionate individuals in various community service projects, positively impacting and driving meaningful change. Working alongside these dedicated individuals reinforced the importance of selflessness and teamwork in creating lasting impacts within our communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of these incredible events.
In my vision for the future, I will strive to integrate oral health education and preventive measures into the community, fostering individuals’ empowerment over their dental well-being.
Distinguished Performance in Community Care Award sponsored by Dr Ng Jet Wei: Distinguished service to community based on leadership, degree, and impact of participation in community projects.
For aspiring dental students, it is essential to thoroughly research and understand the dental profession. Be sure that it aligns with your interests and aspirations. Engage in conversations with dental professionals to understand the demands and rewards of the field. Their insights can provide valuable perspectives on the realities of the profession.
You can gain practical experience by working as a dental assistant to observe procedures, providing a realistic preview of the field. It can help solidify your decision to pursue dentistry. When choosing a dental university, consider your financial implications, available scholarships, the school’s curriculum, faculty expertise, and the clinical exposure it provides. Attend campus open days and engage with current students to assess the educational environment. You can make an informed decision about pursuing dentistry by conducting thorough research, gaining practical experience, choosing the right university, and evaluating your fit.
Embracing the spirit of service in pursuit of making a positive impact in the dental field can be a transformative experience.
I encourage students to consider the invaluable role of community service. It goes beyond clinical skills, offering personal growth, professional development, and a fulfilling sense of purpose. You witness the transformative impact of oral healthcare in communities by volunteering in outreach programmes and community work. Engaging in community service cultivates empathy and social responsibility.
Let us embrace the opportunity to serve, uplift, and inspire, knowing that every smile matters in our collective efforts for positive change.
I am committed to delivering excellent dental services to my patients in shaping my future career path. I want to create a safe, comfortable environment where individuals feel heard, respected, and valued. Collaborating with like-minded colleagues who share my passion for providing compassionate and comprehensive care is also crucial. As I progress in my career, I am open to specialising in a particular area of dentistry, further refining my skills and expertise. Alternatively, I may remain a dedicated general practitioner, ensuring that I can address a wide range of dental needs to serve as my patients’ primary point of contact.
I am also motivated to make a difference in the lives of those in need. With a focus on my local community in Sarawak, ensuring that everyone has access to essential oral healthcare services. Moreover, I am determined to raise oral health awareness among the Malaysian population and aim to improve dental health by educating communities about preventive measures and the importance of regular dental check-ups. Moving forward, I will stay updated with dentistry advancements through lifelong learning, continuing education, and active involvement in professional organizations. Additionally, I am driven to become a mentor to younger dentists, sharing my knowledge and experiences to guide and inspire them on their journeys in the field.
With dedication, passion, and pursuit of self-improvement, I am excited to embark on this fulfilling professional journey.
Written by Rikan Libat