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Alumni Interview: A Q&A with dental student Michael Farrell
9 October 2020
Michael Farrell

What is your name, what year did you graduate, and what was your study?
My name is Michael Farrell, and I am a 2017 graduate of the Eberly College of Science with a bachelor’s degree in biology.

Where are you now, and what are you doing career wise?
I am currently a fourth-year dental student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, who is in the process of applying to oral and maxillofacial surgery residency programs.

What did you do during your time at Penn State to prepare for postgraduation life?
My first two years at Penn State were spent primarily on building efficient study habits and keeping up with my classes at hand. In that time, I did some volunteer work with certain THON organizations and joined the Predental Society to learn more about dentistry as a whole and the various specialties within the dental field. It wasn’t until my junior year that I decided to join a THON committee and become an active member in the philanthropy. Volunteer work is a great way to strengthen a résumé, but I would say my work experience as an oral surgeon assistant was the strongest contribution to my dental school applications.

What did you wish you knew as a student?
In all honesty, I wish I knew how much biochemistry would be taught in dental school. I would have taken more biochemistry and molecular biology classes in undergrad. 

What was the transition like for you from undergrad to dental school?
Like the transition from high school to college, the matriculation into dental school was a completely new experience. I needed to learn new study methods and adapt to the new curriculum. It was tough at first, but once you get yourself into a routine, getting the work you need to get done becomes easier and easier.

Any suggestions for how recent alumni can get involved with current students?
I think these virtual talks and conversations with students are a great platform for recent graduates and current students to interact. These meetings are a perfect way to open up questions that potential dental students may have about the dental school lifestyle.

Do you have a story you’d like to share? Be sure to reach out to us at—we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to!