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Letters: Dental school reality

May 16, 2016 Having graduated in 2009 with $250,000 in student loans, I have been actively following the recent discussions about student loan debt. I found myself laughing as I read Dr. John Sparkman's out-of-touch solution to the large student debt scenario: get a job while in school and make $25,000-$30,000 per year (Letters, April 18 ADA News). While this may have been a possibility with the rigors of dental education in 1976, I offer that this is not a sane reality 40 years later. I applied this model in undergrad where I worked 60 hours per week during the academic year. I earned sufficient money each year to graduate from college debt free. I found dental school today to be fundamentally different. Dental school itself was a 60 hour/week endeavor that not only left you physically tired but often mentally spent. Many schools now run all year without a significant break. Students today might be able to work some and reduce the out-of-school debt but at what personal cost? Physical and mental health, as well as preservation of marriage and family, if that applies, needs to be important to our students if they are to graduate as well rounded individuals ready to take on the challenges of entering the work force.

Ryan LeMert, D.M.D.
Randle, Washington