From cooking and cleaning, university represents a huge milestone in our lives. One big change can be of course be the aspect of moving out for the first time, where you may opt to live in King’s Residences. I have previously written about here. However, this only represents one aspect of life as a dental student at King’s.
First year of the course: what to expect
Your first year of being a dental student can somewhat be very similar to the any other science courses out there, and even all university courses! You’ll be meeting your coursemates and potential flatmates, trying to remember their names, where they’re from and what their favourite chocolate is etc.
The course starts from the very first day after the inductions. You’ll be learning the biomedical science principles, which include topics from: biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology and anatomy. This helps give you the knowledge and skills to apply clinically throughout the further years. Eventually through year one, you’ll be advancing to topics such as oral biology and tooth morphology, as well as starting to develop ‘soft skills’ from management and leadership to sociology and psychology. A large bulk of time is spent at these preparing for lectures, the lectures themselves, and then of course revising and consolidating the knowledge.
In a normal week, you would expect around 10-15 lectures. To accompany and consolidate these lectures, we have a variety of tutorials, led by academics with around 10 students. You would normally prepare in advance for these tutorials. Tutorials in first year are normally held in the Hodgkin Building, where the tooth waxing taster took place during the offer holder event, or Henrietta Raphael Building at Guy’s Campus. For anatomy, you’ll have some sessions in the dissecting room with prosections of cadavers, where demonstrators help guide you through specimens and for your histology components, you’ll have sessions in the general classrooms. If that’s not enough, you’ll also have some biomedical science labs to help develop some of your practical abilities and some waxing sessions to help learn morphology and develop better manual dexterity skills.
One of the most rewarding things in first year is how, at King’s, we get very early clinical exposure. Once deemed able, by passing your First Steps to Clinical Dentistry OSCE, you’ll have the opportunity to nurse older students. This is a great way to meet some of your older peers, and really integrate into the clinical ‘team’ you’ll be placed into for the next five years. You’ll get to know the clinical tutors very early on along with the nurses and staff, which really makes you feel as part of a valued team!
Outside the course: societies, the AKC and more!
As you can tell, there can be a lot of studying involved, and this of course would take up a lot of our ‘life’! However, there will be a lot of downtime to relax. King’s has some of the largest university societies, as part of KCLSU, from sports to culture and politics and volunteering. There’s a society for almost everything! Many of our students take part in several societies by attending their events – from extracurricular lectures, such as the ones hosted by the KCL Dental Society, to regular sports training or musical rehearsals. Some students enjoy these societies so much that they may run for elections to either be on a committee, or even represent a student body to help plan events and engage new ideas.
Some of our students enrol in the Associateship of King’s College, commonly referred to as the “AKC”. This is normally an extra course, done over three years, where you attend additional lectures on topics including theology, ethics and philosophy. This is something which is historic and unique to King’s. Upon completion, associates can use the post-nominal letters AKC and a special epitoge upon graduation of BDS.
A unique facility of King’s is the Modern Language Centre. Here, you’re able to enrol on additional evening or Saturday language courses in a variety of languages at reasonable concession prices.
These are only a few examples of what you may wish to get up to outside the course.
What do others think?
I asked BDS1 and BDS2 students at King’s to give me one word to describe life at King’s as a dental student. I received around 50 responses from students in both years which you can see in the word cloud below.
I also thought this would be a great opportunity to gather some other student’s views on life as a dental student at King’s, so I set out to interview two fourth year students, Megna (Co-President of Smile Society) and Phil (Chair of the Dental Student Council)
Jitesh: What’s your favourite thing about King’s and being a dental student?
- Megna: “My favourite aspect of dentistry at King’s is the early introduction to clinical work in Year 2; being able to put theory into practice is invaluable to our learning experience, whilst enhancing our communication skills, professionalism and manual dexterity – key skills for any successful dentist!”
Jitesh: What societies are you part of?
- Megna: “The plethora of societies offered at King’s allows you to truly follow your passions. As Co-President of KCL Smile Society this year, I have been able to explore my interests in working with young children and public health, whilst also volunteering to serve the community we work in to improve oral health for vulnerable communities.”
- Phil: “Since first year, I have been elected to the Dental Student Council – so have had many opportunities to work with both staff and students to make King’s the best in the world.”
Jitesh: How do you get to university?
- Megna: “Tube to London Bridge Station from my home in North London.”
- Phil: “By tube. Jubilee Line to London Bridge; about 45 minutes door-to-door.”
How did you find integrating into university?
- Phil: “Coming in as a graduate gave me a different perspective on learning the content. I think the way you learn as a dental student is different to most other subjects, and managing the workload was probably the most difficult aspect first!”