1. So Wajeeha, what inspired you to pursue a career in Dentistry?
My own dentist when I was 13 years old. Usually when kids have to go to the dentist, it is definitely not what they look forward to. However, having a very professional and friendly dentist at such a young age left a lasting impression over me. All I wanted to do when I grew up was to become one myself.
2. What is the best part about being a Dentist?
With the evolving times, dental problems are also at an increase given our demanding lifestyles and at times they cannot be treated at home. I know the difference it makes when my patients can give their best smile with utmost confidence or eat their favorite food without hesitation. It is usually the smaller things we overlook but then the gratitude I receive makes it all worthwhile.
3. In your opinion, what are the top three skills that have been critical for your success in the pursuit of your career goals?
Discipline. Agility. Communication skills
4. What are some of the challenges that you have dealt with while pursuing your career goals? Has being a woman exacerbated some of the challenges?
I belong to a very strong knit family support system, where gender was never more important than the development of the brain and soul. However, at every walk of life, being a woman is always a constant reminder (as if it’s more important than being a human).
Most recently, I experienced this at a dental college where there was always a subtle discussion around girls hogging seats quota since they eventually get married and don’t pursue this as a profession. In all honesty, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt since it does happen. However, times are changing and more women are stepping up to share the work and financial load with their families/spouses. I remember being asked during my first job interview whether I am fully committed or whether I will abandon my passion at the first chance of being married. It’s been 9 years since I’ve been practicing (and now I am married too). I think this answers their unfounded concern. We need to encourage more women and diversity in the workforce if we want to grow and prosper together.
5. Do you have a role model? Who and why?
My mother. It may sound clichéd but now I understand why it is the most appreciated and acknowledged relationship amongst all. My mother was my first friend, my first teacher, my first doctor, my first mentor, my first search engine, my first love – just to highlight a few of the ‘firsts’ that I’ve experienced in my life.
6. What networks have helped you achieve your goals? Which have been most helpful?
Networking in today’s day and age sets one apart from the plethora of good talent available since it helps raise self-awareness and streamlines thought processes. For me, I’ve always looked up to the professors at the dental college I attended and they were my mentors throughout till the graduation. Working with them closely got me more interested and involved with research and development. Fortunately, my first job offer came from the Head of Restorative Surgery department at his private practice. It was a perfect start of my career as I knew exactly what to expect and deliver.
7. Are there are online resources that you refer to that you can point our readers towards?
There are a couple of websites that are informative for fresh graduates and practitioners who are interested in continued education and staying in touch with new developments in this field .At the same time, I would advise everyone looking to learn more about general oral health and hygiene tips to refer to such websites .
8. What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?
My father wrote a note on a paper, which read a quote by Steve jobs:
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do”
9. And finally, how would you define success?
The word ‘success’ can mean many different things to different individuals. Success for me, in a nutshell, is getting out of your comfort zone and pushing limits to excel in your field, giving it all you got and sleeping contently in bed every night without regrets. Having my expectations and objectives clear helps me be more comfortable in my skin and that’s everything to me.
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