How can an immigrant mom manage to pursue dentistry in the United States?
I remember sitting at my mom’s porch when I told her that I was moving to the United States. Mi Hija!!!! She said, and suddenly her face resembled my two daughter’s wipes’ color, and her voice started to shake. At that time, I was a single mom at 23, caring for my two daughters and a Business degree that was only good for my knowledge. I grabbed my bag filled with dreams, my two daughters, and a promised from who’s now is my husband, who told me that ” everything will be ok.”
The beginning of my journey was challenging. English was a barrier for me, so it was complicated to find a decent job and start my life. As soon as I arrived, enrolling in college was one of my priorities. I knew that this was my opportunity to accomplish the dreams I had back in my country. Still, I lacked guidance or knowledge about the steps I needed to follow to become a Dentist.
While in college, learning classes in a foreign language was a challenge. I remember that I didn’t want to translate the information into Spanish, so I started to study with an English Dictionary on the side. It used to take forever, but it was totally worth it because it allowed me to understand the material. At the same time and very importantly, it allowed me to erase a barrier that was stopping me from growing. In the afternoon, I would read books and record myself to hear my pronunciation and see which words I was mispronouncing. In my daily life, I was and am always looking forward to speaking, read, listen to music and even watch TV ( which I rarely do) in English. I believe it is compelling. Finding comfort in your most uncomfortable situations is very important. It allows you to overcome any “mental” barrier you think you have.
Indeed, Being comfortable in the most uncomfortable situations allows you to grow. I remember that I was scared of the dark…..yes, I am a grown woman and couldn’t be alone in the dark. I had a realization that being afraid of the darkness was a mental barrier, and it needed to stop. I started to use my bathroom with a closed door and the lights off until I became comfortable and actually ended up enjoying that peaceful moment…I know, it’s insane!! But I did, and the thought of fear managing my life stopped at that very moment.
Fear is always trying to manage our life, and we unconsciously allowed it. How many times you hear or had in your thoughts, ” oh, I am not applying for that job because it requires you to speak English” “Can you call for me? I don’t want to speak. After all, my English is not good” “I a not going to be good at this because I don’t know English.” When we set a limit in our mind, our brain will not find a way out, and we will continue with that limit for the rest of our life. It’s time for you to erase the word ” I can’t” and change it for ” I will.” We all have different struggles and have overcome various obstacles in our lives. Still, we are united by the same goal….we want to succeed.
I was alone with only my husband and kids. All my family is in my country, but I couldn’t stop and feel sorry for myself. I had to find balance and continue fighting to accomplish my goals to become a DENTIST. Time management is the key if you have kids, regardless if it is only one or more than one. We, women, have a tremendous amount of responsibility, from being a caring mother and taking care of your home to be a wife and preserving your marriage. Now, let’s add that you are a student with all the responsibilities. It sounds like a lot, right? But the key is finding a balance and time management. Find the schedule that works for you, set schedules for your kids, and do not…I repeat, do not procrastinate.
Finally, I after several years I finished my undergraduate education but becoming a strong applicant and studying for the DAT exam was my biggest challenge and I would like to share my journey with you in the following post.
Please understand that you are not alone. Millions like you are going throw the same or similar circumstances. Please read my journey to conquer the DAT Exam as a nontraditional applicant and English being my second language. Of course, feel free to post your questions and find guidance to ease your journey.
Good Luck in your journey !!!