3 tips from a dental hygiene youngster to a newbie!

Elijah Desmond, RDH, provides tips on what his early dental hygiene career has taught him.

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By Elijah Desmond, RDH, BS

I feel like I was in your shoes last year. The truth is that I graduated eight years ago from The Ohio State University and that makes me about 29. Wow! I'm getting old. I've created six dental businesses and completed well over 200 speeches since graduation. I want to share my top 3 tips on what I've learned on this exciting journey!

1. Get involved in everything you can and network! The power of networking will create more opportunities than you can imagine. Know that your career has endless options that start with clinical and the possibilities never end outside of clinical.

Do you remember in high school when they told you to volunteer because it would help you get jobs and into college? Volunteering and networking go hand in hand, and it starts now. Make sure you involve yourself in professional groups, such as the ADHA or the Association of Dental Implant Auxiliaries, and as many other dental professional groups as possible. Having membership in these types of groups offers endless possibilities and lifelong relationships.

2. Be yourself. I always say that the number one risk in life is being yourself. Often, people tell us what we should do and who we should be. Own your personality, find your passion and your strengths; don't try to be someone you are not. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t, and you will move mountains.

You have a calling in our profession; however, you might not know it yet! Do some serious soul searching and you will find your special gift.

3. Mentorship is everything, and it works both ways. A mentor is just as valuable as your favorite college instructor, if not better. After graduation is truly when it all begins. Nothing is better than surrounding yourself with positive people who have been there and done that. Remember, it's not about you, it's about them, and you need to own that concept. While you are finding your purpose, make sure you reach out and mentor others along the way. Lastly, always help as many people as you can and stay positive while doing it.

Takeaway: Know that your career is amazing and you are amazing too!

Elijah Desmond, RDH, BS, graduated from Ohio State University in 2009. After practicing briefly in Hawaii, he started a staffing agency before launching Back To The Basics, a consulting firm. He is a frequent speaker at dental meetings, and moderates the popular Facebook Group, Trapped in an OP. He is also the founder of Smiles at Sea, a conintuing education venue occurring primarily on cruise ships.

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