a tale of two presentations .. and a few other things in between

I have resolved I cannot be prescriptive with these online posts. I feel every other platform is constantly nagging you to update statuses, post photos and tweets. But it is certainly more satisfying than any of those 140 characters-or-less-type posts. If I am sharing a, mostly, monologic post, with little to no discourse, just likes and retweets, then I very much rather type at length, reflect deeper, and consolidate some thoughts. I must give credit to the Dept. of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto for pushing us to create an e-portfolio. Writing has always been a passion of mine. It really requires tremendous dedication, especially in an age of instant gratification and on-person distractions.

It is strange to be able to take a ten day hiatus from clinical dentistry and take my health professions’ education courses. A teacher once told me, and I paraphrase, “What’s cool about Dentistry is the flexibility. You can ramp it up and ramp it down as you see fit. It really allows you to pursue other passions.” I never thought qualitative research would be this enamoring. I think it is inherent in the emphasis on social construction; how context, people, cognition contribute to the processes defining our lives. At least from a social constructivist perspective.

I just wrapped up three insane months of a ton of reading and writing in #MedEd. Even though it has really flown by, it felt oddly long. And I wrapped it up just in time for a get away. An escape. Mostly to help my brain clear up more amyloids. Mostly to make a bit more Vitamin D, that the winter robbed me of. Mostly to reflect on 3 presentations, one poster, and a group workshop and a whole lot of papers. I would be remiss if I put in all of that work and didn’t stop to think if I got my point across. You spend hours meticulously preparing one of those documents, focused on what you want to get across, and less on what might get across (to your audience). But the process of it all makes you really, think about what did get across. Whether that sentence was clear enough, or if that photo or depiction representative enough. Whether it was entertaining enough. Sophisticated enough.

Today I had an epiphany. People might come up to you and ask you: “what do you want to do with this.” They are asking you about a course you’re taking. May be even a degree. Even simpler things: a cooking class; a pottery class…a blog…hell, even a DJ controller. And you know – deep down – you know. But you muse, and say “you know… I am not sure, but I know it is something…something that fits in the grand scheme of it all”. And you know what, it is not about knowing completely because every day, if you’re looking closely, reflecting deeply, perhaps even being aware metaphysically. You might discover slowly, one reason at a time, why. As long as you keep asking yourself, and dreaming. Fantasy is the ultimate escape.

Today was the Sinai Health System Dept. of Dentistry symposium. Today I decided I am in the right place, at the right time, and that if I didn’t come across all the obstacles in my life that slowed me down just enough to get there at the right time, I wouldn’t be there. Today I was thankful to be, somehow, around the very people that nudged me in a certain direction, and just enough, or else, I wouldn’t be there. Today I was happy, I am still able-brained, and able-bodied to be doing a 2nd masters, and even outrageously entertaining a PhD, because if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here. Today, I was happy, I discovered one, may be even two pieces of knowledge, may be even half a piece of fantasy, to answer that ever-nagging question of “what are you going to do with this?”….because….otherwise, I wouldn’t be here…it’s not what. It’s why… That’s why.

(Photo by Orestis.Charalambous)


I am a general dentist and hospitalist with an expansive interest in education research. I come from a basic science, and immunology research background, and am currently pursuing a master in community health with a health practice education focus.

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