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  • Writer's pictureMark Abere

Shots and Goals

Hey Guys!

Happy new year (again).

As I said before, school got really crazy for me towards the end of last semester (November and December). Although the number of classes I took dwindled, I had other obligations that seemed to munch on my free time. For my school, they allocate a few weeks at the end of the fall semester for us to study for Part I of the National Boards. We get about 2-3 weeks of preparation to study everything we've learned in our Medical Science courses, in addition to Occlusion (how teeth come together) and Dental Anatomy. It's a huge task; if you're a predent or dental student that has questions about it, feel free to contact me. Thankfully, I passed the exam and could offer a few tips if you have any questions.

With that being said, I lost sight of a lot of the things that I wanted to accomplish last year, that were not school related. My number one goal was to become more fluent in spanish (which I have, but there's room for a huge deal of improvement). I did stay in the gym (how I cope with stress) but again, theres always room for improvement.

So for those that are following for language acquisition tips, I have a few suggestions that I plan on utilizing for the next few weeks. I mentioned earlier that I would post a video, and that will come soon I promise. Until then, here are my goals for the first half of the semester, and a few things I've started doing to help me attain them.

Spiritual Growth

There's nothing worse than feeling stagnant. Towards the end of last year, with studying for boards and school, I felt minimal growth spiritually because I was putting minimal effort. Luckily, I've had some time in the beginning of this year to assess where I am with my relationship with Christ and where I want to be.

Like anything else that you want to be excellent in, being intentional is a requirement. My goal in 2017, in addition to my daily devotion, is to read the bible from cover to cover. Now, I've tried this before and failed woefully. As a goal oriented person, (like most students) there's nothing that hurts more than not accomplishing a goal. In fact after doing so, if you're like me, you probably find yourself (subconsciously) avoiding anything that reminds you of what you failed at.

I've learned the best way to tackle a missed goal is to create a plan. Evaluate, and shoot your shot again. This time, I discovered a thematic bible study plan (Thanks Mom) that helps me study the bible in themes. For example, its starts off with creation story in the beginning of the bible, but also pairs it with theme of creation in the New Testament (as a result of Jesus's sacrifice).

There are so many different types of study plans so pick one that works for you! (Mine can be found, here

Taking care of yourself is important in all aspects (spiritually, mentally and physically). You get in what you put in; being in school and or work can be extremely time consuming but you make time for what is important to you.

Language Acquisition

in 2016 I realized that I was decent in spanish (definitely proficient enough for the purposes of clinic) but I definitely want to to take it a step further. These past few days of the new year I've been pretty much focused on learning good habits. I'm hoping that buy fostering these habits, i'll worry less about not reaching my goals and spend more time achieving them.

So what do I plan on doing differently?

1. Reading more.

There once was a period in time of my life that you would always catch me reading a book. I don't know when I stopped the habit but I definitely want to pick it up again! Because of school, my free time is limited so I have to be very selective in what I read. Thus, I decided to develop a Spanish Reading List for beginners. The first book on my list is..

Cajas de cartón by Francisco Jiménez! This is a book idea suggested by my younger brother (who is fluent in spanish) . I opened the first page and realized it would be a challenge but its definitely doable. Once I finish i'll let you guys know how it goes.

I've also gathered some excellent tips from, which is a blog that has a fantastic array of exercises, excerpts, and advice for those learning spanish. Often times when learning a language you a hit a glass ceiling that you cant really see, but can definitely feel. He sends out weekly letters to his subscribers of common mistakes spanish learners make and great ways to avoid them.

2. Speaking more

I've made a couple of friends through learning spanish but one thing we dont do is keep up. Speaking spanish with someone else who is learning is an advantageous way of practicing. Learners tend to focus on specific rules and cannot wait to test what they've learned on others. Perfect arena for learning something new! What i've done is set up a few days with my friends where we can slip in a 15 minute conversation

catching up... solo en espanol. Regardless of how deep the conversation is, the idea is to make sure neither switches to the dominant language. Really fun if you get the opportunity to do it.

3. More Exercises!

If you're around me a lot you'll notice I tend to work in my practice book when ever I get the chance. For me, I did not take spanish in high school or college. Exercises are a good way of checking what you know, helping identify what you need to work on.

The book I work from actually sets you up for greatness. It has excerpts of beginner-intermediate readings, over 150 exercises, and has the most common spanish verbs that you need to master.

Book Name: Easy Spanish Step by Step , By McGraw Hill


My goals for the academic aspect of my life right now is to continually strive and push myself to do my best. Yes, grades aren't everything, but they are important. It's simple, once you get a grade that you don't like, to adopt the mindset of "Grades aren't everything". However, it can lead to an indolent mindset, which can be risky and impede future progress.

Anyway, one of the things I've done to do better academically this semester, is get rid of my membership in club procastinaton, and work on getting things done ahead of time. I've tried it for a few things already and have enjoyed having more time to do other things. It doesn't work for everybody but if you're looking for ways to reduce your stress levels in any academic arena, you should definitely try it out.

On another note, as a second year dental student, we' re doing a lot of things to prepare us for entry into clinic this summer. Thus far, we've had a lot of courses geared to learning about all the systems of the body preparing us to be competent clinicians. This has been a good deal of didactic work, accompanied with time spent in the preclinical lab. The National Board Dental Exam Part I covered everything we've learned up to this point.

Now we're about to make the switch from didactic work and preclinical lab, to the clinic. Realizing that patients will soon be under my name (in less than 6 months) is crazy! Its exciting, but all the same I know it will be challenging. It's an odd feeling, realizing that everything I've learned in school in my 23 years of life have prepared me for these next two years. However, I'm sure that He who started this work and put me on this path will definitely bring it completion.

That's pretty much all I have for now. In order to succeed in the goals I have put before myself this year, creating good habits in the beginning (now) is extremely crucial. These are just a few of my goals that I felt I could share with you all. I would love to hear about yours! Wishing you the best of luck in all your aspirations and goals this year. I'll definitely keep you all updated on my progress.


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