A Pandemic DDS 2020 Graduation

Grace Bellerose - 24 June 2020

I can only speak from my own perspective about what it was like to become a dentist amid the global outbreak of COVID-19. I had been studying furiously for months prior to my NDEB examinations which took place the weekend before the university closure, was exhausted from the 10-hour examination and the karaoke celebrations following, and my immediate travel to my northern satellite rotation to McLennan, AB. While treating patients, myself and my northern classmates were growing increasingly apprehensive about this new and rapidly transmitted pathogen and continued to work for one extra day after the closure of the University of Alberta. I completed my last dental procedure as a student on Friday, March 13th, 2020, and I wondered if luck would be on my side for whether I would graduate despite the unknown length of lost future clinic time.

I tried to enjoy my isolation time to the best of my ability, writing a few more exams and papers, and then hoping that myself and my classmates successfully passed our licensing exams, as the date was getting pushed further and further back. The relief and joy of finding out our successful results were shared online and with family phone calls, as we all looked forward to our graduation.

True, our graduation was not what we expected, and unfortunately, we could not all be together as classmates, and some like myself celebrated alone. Despite all this, I shared the links with my family, and wore my grad cap and a smile, felt the emotions of accomplishment and gratitude, and did feel that the virtual graduation was a kind and lovely way to convocate in these conditions.

I look forward to the next time I might see my family and dental colleagues, and feel like when we do get to reunite, that the time together will be even more appreciated and cherished.

Cheers to a very memorable and resilient graduation class!

Watch the Doctor of Dental Surgery graduation video here.