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How Going Back to School Changed My Life

By Angela King, Dental Assistant

Can dreams come true from a new year’s resolution? Yes!

Last year, I resolved to go back to college. Twenty years earlier, I had interrupted my education to get married and start a family – now it was time to get a degree.

The first step was walking into an admissions office

For me, the first step was just walking into a college admissions office. I chose MedQuest College because I was interested in its 10-month dental assisting program. I just walked in the front door – but today, with the pandemic, you would schedule a tour virtually!

When I walked in, I was so nervous. It was hard to imagine going back to school, managing my family responsibilities and my job. But at MedQuest, I found people who were eager to help me – right down to helping me decide how I would talk to my employer about reducing my work hours to make time for education and studying.

My admissions counselor at MedQuest said: “I’m going to be with you every step of the way.”

Challenges can be met with help

Going back to school while working and raising a family was hard. There were days that it was hard to juggle everyone’s schedules. One terrible day, they pulled me out of class to tell me they had received a call and that my father was dying. I had to leave immediately for Florida.

Of course, that was a terrible week and a hard setback at school.

But I found so much support. My teachers were there for me. My peers became close friends.

Is dental assisting a good program during a pandemic?

In March, I was ready to start an externship – getting real-world experience in a pediatric dental office. I couldn’t wait!  But everyone knows what happened in March.

My first externship didn’t work out because of COVID-19. I was disappointed but I didn’t give up. MedQuest helped me find another externship. It happened to be in my daughter’s orthodontics office. I ended up being the person to take my daughter’s braces off. She and I were both proud!

Entering a healthcare profession in a global pandemic is not exactly what I had planned, but I feel like my skills are needed now more than ever. Since I finished my last class, sanitizing and check-in protocols have already changed. But that’s ok, because I know I have the skills that are needed to do the work and meet the challenges.

At 40 years old, I feel like my career has really started and I’m doing a job that I love and provides for my family. I’m so proud that my kids got to see me do this. I got to show them that anything is possible if you work hard. Going back to school isn’t to be taken lightly – but the rewards are great.

What is an “EDDA?”

Angela graduated from one of the MedQuest’s largest and most popular programs. Students who graduate from MedQuest’s comprehensive dental assisting program have all the skills of a “expanded duties dental assistant.” In the dental industry, this is called an “EDDA.”

EDDA’s are trained to work in all types of dental offices – right alongside the dentist and dental hygienist. EDDA’s learn how to operate x-ray equipment, create dental models, apply sealants, fill cavities, make temporary crowns – and so much more.

They work in all sorts of dental offices, including:

  • General and/or Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Pediatrics
  • Orthodontists
  • Endodontists
  • Periodontist
  • Prosthodontist

For more information about the benefits of continuing education and about the importance of going back to school, check out this piece from MoneyUnder30.