Cirque de SPDL
2013 is my first year at the University of Michigan after I graduated from a community college with an Associate in Science degree, so I wanted to make sure that I became involved with my community at the dental school in order to get to know other people, and make the most of my remaining collegiate years. In doing so, I applied and was subsequently accepted to the SPDL (Scholars Program in Dental Leadership) program at the dental school, and I was very excited for our first meeting! As the day arrived, I met my peers at The League and I was bemused by the scene that greeted my eyes. I’d originally believed that I was in the wrong place, because I saw circus acrobats and several “stations” involving ladders, juggling equipment and tightropes strewn about the ballroom. I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into!
We were given t-shirts and I began to think that it must have just been an entertaining day to kick off our program. As what I assumed would be the performers performance commenced, they started pulling in volunteers to demonstrate. I momentarily considered hiding in the back at that point because I thought there was no way I could do any of that stuff without more training, and as I looked around I noticed a lot of other students with similar expressions. My plans of evasion quickly fell through as I was called upon to demonstrate the tight rope station. My less than perfect balance combined with a tendency to trip over my own feet led me to believe that I was about to fall flat on my face in front of people I’d only just met, but luckily I was not alone. Another woman was called up to walk another tight rope next to mine and she told me that she thought she’d fall too. The tightropes were only about a foot off of the ground but were still comprised of two posts and wire. The director instructed us to begin trying and the first time we attempted to cross both fell. We also fell the second time. Before our third attempt, I realized that there had to be more to this than what they were telling us so since they hadn’t told us we couldn’t, I suggested to my partner that we move the tightropes closer together and help each other across. This was the solution and as we helped each other cross the tightropes, we finally made it to the other side.
The rest of the events were similarly structured. They seemed simple enough but alone, one could not hope to complete them. However, by working together, we all completed the entirety of the gauntlet. What I’d originally perceived as entertainment turned into being an incredible learning experience. What we couldn’t do alone we did easily together and it was a lesson that I hope everyone has the opportunity to truly learn, because it applies not only to working in a dental office or any kind of professional setting, but to life as a whole. What may be too much for us to tackle on our own becomes easily manageable and even enjoyable when completed as a team. My first experience with the dental leadership program was incredibly enjoyable and rewarding and I am very much looking forward to our next meeting.
Want to see more pictures from the kickoff? See the flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/umdent/sets/72157636688916123/