Brooke Beck - Pacific Medical Training scholarship essay

Submitted 2023-06-05

I am Brooke Beck. A genuine and curious soul, a creator, and a helper. I grew up in a single-parent household as it was just me and my mom for most of my life. This has no doubt had an impact on the way I view life, work, school, relationships, and the world. My mother was in an abusive relationship with my biological father, whom I’ve never known and I thank God everyday that my mom was strong enough to take us and leave during the night. I don’t like to imagine what my life might’ve been like otherwise. For most of my life, it’s just been me and my mom - and my grandma. Three musketeers. I spent a lot of time in morning and after-school care programs and being watched by grandma; my mom always had to have impressive work ethic and I always helped her with coupons, working myself, and even coming to work with her when school was out and no one else could watch me. I live on my own now and work full-time; I still coupon.

After the Covid-19 pandemic removed my first “big girl job” immediately following my Bachelor’s degree graduation, I used the need to change careers for something more stable as an opportunity to explore my life-long interest in healthcare and became certified to be an Expanded Functions Dental Assistant shortly after. Interestingly enough, my background in psychology benefits me and the patients I interact with regularly, as I’m able to help them overcome their nervousness and fears of “the dreaded Dental office.”

As a Dental Assistant, I am already - though it is not required - attending many Continuing Education courses in my field to learn better techniques, practices, materials, and emergency protocols to better the entire experience for dental patients. Over the past year, I have also taken prerequisite courses while working a full-time job to go back to school to advance in this field. The sacrifices that I have made financially (as a post-bacc, non-degree-seeking student, I was ineligible for any financial aid while carrying undergraduate debt), and through designating what little free-time outside of working 5 days a week to studying these prerequisites, should speak volumes about my determination and desire to make this goal happen. I am resilient and now know the path I must take to follow my dreams of always helping others, having a good work-life balance, and never stopping learning.

Now, I know I’m not “saving lives” in the literal sense. But I am, through my service, improving the quality of those saved lives. My perspective, through my previous independent undergraduate research project, is that those lives are saved by giving people “reasons for living.” Which is an underused metric for the diagnosis and monitoring of at-risk psychiatric patients for suicidal ideation, attempts, and completions. By helping people overcome smaller anxieties, giving them solutions for dental problems they deem “unfixable,” discussing habit changes and how to achieve such, improving systemic issues resulting from mouth bacteria, and being a friend who shows interest in their life and cares about their health, I have seen many people rebound and become all-around more healed individuals. That is why I continue.

I am enrolled in an Associate’s program at Western Kentucky University that begins in Fall 2023 and am excited about becoming a Dental Hygienist. My expected graduation date from WKU’s Associate degree program is in 2025. And I frequently consider continuing into Dental School as these careers offer me the perfect balance of applying science, creating art, and helping people.

I’m an artist. I’m a nerd. I’m a dental assistant pursuing higher education, and I’m here to help make sure you have a beautiful (and healthy) smile!