Fresh Faces: Jas Dhaliwal, Dental Hygiene

Young mother of two Jas Dhaliwal, who has always been drawn to working in dentistry, comes to the dental hygiene program from a career as an electrician.

Sasha Roeder Mah - 22 October 2021

Jas Dhaliwal had always wanted to be a dentist, but when she moved to Canada from India, she needed to find a quicker path to steady work. What that looked like for Dhaliwal was several years of courses and apprenticeship in B.C. and Alberta, culminating in her certification as an electrician. While the money was good, she found the working atmosphere wasn’t a good fit. The stability she craved was lacking as she went from contract to contract and often had to work out of town, away from family. 

After setting aside enough money to return to university, Dhaliwal was able to enter the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science for a pre-professional year to prepare for dental hygiene, a program that would prove to be a better fit for the young mother of two than her original plan of dentistry. 

What made you choose the U of A?

The only accredited dental hygiene program in Alberta is at the U of A, so that made it an easy choice. It’s also close to where I live, and I didn’t want to be confined to a dorm because I have a young family with two kids. So being accepted at U of A gives me the freedom to balance work with family.

What inspired you to choose dental hygiene?

I was always passionate about dentistry programs. After exploring all options, I chose dental hygiene. I am drawn to the career stability and the professional working environment in a dental office, where everyone is treated with respect and courtesy. I also love the idea of meeting and helping new people every day.

Are you new to the campus? What are you excited to explore here?

I’ve been living in Alberta since 2013 but new to campus. I like to take part in all the social activities and especially our cohort plans. It helps me to know all my classmates and plus unwind as well. I am enjoying being part of the intramural volleyball team of our cohort.

What are you most looking forward to in your new program?

I am really excited to be part of this program. I really like the way it's structured and I love the cohort system, where you get to know everyone around you. It’s so unlike most of my undergrad courses. In addition to that, I love how everyone around us, such as professors and program leads, helps us succeed.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges as you embark on this new path?

Keeping our posture upright! We’ve already started working in simulation labs on Dexter the dummy, and on each other, and our instructors keep warning us to be aware of our posture because we have to bend at such awkward angles to properly see into the mouth. 

But seriously, I think managing my time effectively so I can study as well as spend quality time with my family and friends is the biggest challenge.  

How has the ongoing pandemic affected your experience?

The pandemic has taken its own toll. But I think it has made us all stronger and more appreciative of everything in our lives. It motivated me to focus on my physical and mental health. 

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not studying or going to class? 

I really like spending time with my family and friends, including the new ones I’ve made in class. I also sometimes watch movies on Netflix, but I try to stay away from series because it’s so hard to stop after just one episode!