It is with immense gratitude that I sit to write this final editorial to observe the end of my post as Student Editor. The past two years have been unlike any others. Within my role as editor, I was fortunate enough to attend numerous dental events such as the Mouth Cancer Action Month launch, the presidential members committee meeting and the Slow Dentistry press event, all of which took place in person (as usual) up until 2020. Upon reflection, I never envisioned I would miss dental conferences as dearly as I do, given the online replacements that are devoid of the warmth of human company.
The dental profession has arguably faced one of the most challenging times in its history and I am proud to be part of the tenacious resilience that prevails after the battle of COVID-19 and its ensuing challenges. How has the dental workforce coped? Communication of one's battles, be they physical, mental or social, has empowered us to overcome our trials. Within dental school, the unity that adversity has brought, microcosmically reflects the wider reactions within NHS, mixed and private practices around the UK.
An exemplar army of dental students have undergone extensive training online and in person, to become equipped to perpetuate the enormous task of vaccinating Britain. Dentists have worked diligently to ensure patients are kept safe from airborne infections but also still receive a high standard of care. Clinicians have been simultaneously protecting themselves and other staff members by sharing the latest guidance, which is unceasingly adapting to our current situation as we speak. Alongside bearing the heavier financial burden of attaining enough PPE and new PPE that was not general practice to wear before. Even the upper echelons of the dental world have been left infuriatingly hampered at times by our current limitations.
So, what now? Perhaps, we shall continue to wear masks on public transport for decades to come. Perhaps, we shall instinctively socially distance ourselves from the person in front of us in the line. Perhaps, however, Zoom will eventually fade into the background along with these routines. As students, we are likely to bear lasting impacts, branded with COVID-19 for the rest of our working career. The new era of students and following generations will perhaps be abstractly musing about the cohort that trained amidst COVID-19. An inconceivable concept, akin to war stories one learns about in history lessons, yet (hopefully) never experiences oneself. Technology has been forced to expand to keep up with the exponential demand that several lockdowns have requested, the growth of such potential has erupted now more than ever. It is exciting to witness these advances facilitating better healthcare in the form of; mass production of crucial vaccines, methods of delivering fluoride via our water supply, restorative optical mimicry, bioregenerative dentifrices and many more.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that difficult journeys lead to beautiful destinations. This beautiful destination is in sight. I wish all of you the best of luck in your dental journeys and sending strength to all of the current final years, who have faced a tumultuous finale to their undergraduate training. Best of luck to all students about to sit final exams, as the testing spring season is among us once more.
This editorial position has opened many doors within my own personal journey. Something which has unlocked joy and growth has been seizing beneficial opportunities with vigour. With special thanks to David Westgarth, without whom my BDJ editorial journey would not have come into fruition
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Antoniou, S. A final word from outgoing Student editor, Sophia Antoniou . BDJ Student 28, 8 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41406-021-0219-1