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Nothing says “Dental School” like cake

January 13, 2011

After I made my decision to attend the UMSOD I was perusing the Facebook page, anxious to meet my future classmates and excited for what the future held.  However, I hesitated to actually join the group.  I was too old, after all.  What would they think? All these senior college students, a good 6-7 years my younger.  I was embarrassed and apprehensive that they would judge me as a crazy old lady.

Arriving to the dental school for those first days of orientation, however, proved to be a pleasant surprise.  No one seemed to notice or care how old I was.  In fact, there were a few people similar in age, even some older than me, and they fit right in just as I did.  Having pretty much grown up in a different generation, conversations referencing the pop culture of our childhoods were the only real moments that the age difference was discernable.  Most of the time it was really just a springboard for comedy.  Even a professor got in on it once.  I had the great pleasure of celebrating my 30th birthday in dental school and during class the doctor lecturing noticed the “Happy birthday Hillary” sign written on the white board.  Well, someone was asking some clinically related question having to do with old people and he, of course, made reference to me! 

Hillary with her birthday cakes

Hillary with her birthday cakes

 It’s all in good fun though.  Most of the time I don’t even recognize the age difference, and I honestly think the transition into the intensity of dental school is a bit easier for an older student.  Having been out of college and working a full time job for a while meant I was accustomed to having a disciplined lifestyle and was well prepared for the time-management aspects of dental school.  That is not something that pre-requisite science courses can teach.  I think a lot of the students who come right from undergrad struggle with the time commitment at first.  I mean, let’s be honest, the lifestyle of a senior college student is pretty sweet!  So it’s only natural that jumping right into dental school would pose some challenges.  But for me dental school was similar to working a job…maybe just a little bit more brutal!  And while it would be nice to be starting my career at a younger age, I wouldn’t do anything differently if given the chance.


Hillary Mendillo is a D3 from CT who graduated from college (University of Pennsylvania) in 2002. After college she worked with a company called Sea Education Association(SEA) that teaches college students navigation/seamanship, conduct and  works on oceanographic research projects while studying on the ship.  Once back on land she worked in her father’s dental practice.

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