Meet second-year dental student Olivia Santillan
Dental school survival strategy: I talk to my parents a lot. I also try to maintain my important friendships from college. I talk to my old roommate at least once a week. She’s in law school in Houston, so she is going through something similar but different.
A study schedule is really helpful. I like to have a lot of structure, so I just set something and stick to it. And, on most days, I get up early and take my dog, Bosley, for a walk. He’s gotten acclimated to the crazy dental school schedule, but he definitely enjoys being outside and getting out of my apartment.
Most productive time of day: Between 4 and 8 a.m. Getting up early to study is best for me. My brain will shut off at about 11:30 p.m., so early in the morning, when it’s quiet and there are few distractions, is when I get the most done. I don’t always do 4 a.m., but on an exam day or a couple days before I like to study in the morning.
Best way to unwind after a long day in lecture, lab or clinic: When I get home, I can’t just start studying, so once I get done with school, I always cook dinner and watch a little bit of TV. I’m an HBO fanatic. During D1 year, I was big on “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective.”
Favorite energy food: I like chocolate. I don’t drink coffee often, but I will go for Crystal Light or tea.
Goal after graduation: That’s such a hard question. I worked at a pediatric dentist’s office when I was in college and really enjoyed it. I love kids, so possibly pediatric dentistry. I don’t necessarily know if I’ll stay in Texas. I grew up here, and I’ve only spent four years out of state so I’d love to go somewhere else.
What people may not know about you: For one of my high school classes, we had to pick a profession to shadow. It was last minute, and I hadn’t picked anything, so I went to see my pediatric dentist, Dr. Melissa Rozas, who I had been going to since kindergarten. She allowed me to come in and shadow her in her office several afternoons a week for a semester. I loved it. Her office was welcoming, she and her staff were like family, and everything was very organized. I saw it and thought, “This is perfect.” When I went to college at the University of Oklahoma I majored in business and predentistry, and I never changed my mind.