From media to oral health

26 June 2020

Eve Koester, BSc DH '20

I wanted to be a news reporter. I took NAIT's Radio and Television Diploma and worked at CTV doing a bunch of behind the scenes stuff. It was great fun! But it was part-time with no hope of ever being full-time. Sadly Edmonton is just not the place for that industry. I didn't want to move so... new career!

Eve operating a camera

The only program that fit all my requirements was Dental Hygiene. I knew nothing about it: I’m ashamed to admit that I didn't even realize that dental assistants were different from dental hygienists! That became a pet peeve of mine.

Brain sides

My two programs were very different. First, I was very different mentally. When I did Radio and TV, I was 20. When I started Dental Hygiene, I was 27.

Second, the diploma was very creative (very much up my alley back then). It was hard work and long hours, but it was creative, fun projects. The hygiene program was hard work, long hours, but very sciency homework. A totally different side of the brain, which was hard at first, but I got used to it. It was enlightening to find out that I could be smart in that sciency way that I never thought I was! Turns out, paying attention to the teacher makes a big difference!

A taste of the real world

We get to go up north on a satellite rotation for two weeks in 2nd and 3rd years. You work full-time at a clinic, all living in a house together. It was the best way to get better at all of your skills quickly. You're thrown into hour and a half appointments (as opposed to basically six hours for one finished patient at the school clinic). You get a taste of the real world and hone your skills and discover what it's like to work collaboratively with a dentist.

Coming back, the appointments became way less stressful. You knew that you had tons of time to finish the treatment. Suddenly, you thought, "Wow, instead of spending 30 minutes on one tooth, I'm half done the mouth!"

Small class sizes and drama?

The TV/radio diploma had so much drama! Maybe because it was split gender, so everyone's dating each other. Then if two girls liked the same guy, everyone knows! Maybe that was age talking, but the hygiene class had a few 20-year-olds, with no drama at all!

In hygiene, our class was also small enough that we got to know each other well. We helped each other get through it. There was a lot of teamwork and friendships built because of that. We split into different friend groups within the class, but everyone was very friendly with each other.


I'm excited about a few things. Obviously, one is making money! It's been a long time coming, and I've got student loans to pay off!

Another is not having homework anymore. I can't wait until I can just enjoy my work and come home. Instead of having a tough clinic day, coming home, and still having an exam study for. So hopefully, the workload feels better!

Finally, I'm excited to feel like I'm really good at my job. We're still so new that we're saying, "Ahh, am I doing a good job?" But it comes with practice. I can't wait till the day where I say, "Wow! This is easy!"