Dental Hygiene Student and a Mother Of 4!

Dental Hygiene Student and a Mother Of 4!

She is a dental hygiene student, a mother of 3, and she has a 2-month-old baby, and yet she graduated dental hygiene school and most importantly the PASSED THE BOARDS! There’s no excuse for people who is really determined. Her name is Regina Hodge, go check out her journey! 👇

👀 The two-week wait to find out NBDHE results is excruciating. With every day that passes since I took it, I become more and more convinced that I failed. Waking up in the middle of the night and remembering questions than having to compulsively research correct answers has driven me to a special kind of insanity I’ve never known. Dental hygiene was way harder than I thought it would be, to say the least. I graduated this week and it doesn’t feel any different. ✌️

Everything is weighing on board results and I have a sneaking hunch they’ll come in the morning before I have to take my clinical board exam. If that happens, I can’t check. Finding out I failed right before having to go in for another exam would cripple me. 🥺

Literally, I picture myself in my bed, curled up crying in the fetal position. I’ve accepted this hypothetical future as my reality and until that PASS/FAIL status posts, my dooming thoughts will ceaselessly race. 

I can honestly say that I did all I could to prepare for the exam. 😌

I primarily used Student RDH,  some other Board Prep, Mosby’s, Darby’s…all on top of the hundreds of flashcards I looked at on a daily basis for the past 3 months. I sacrificed time with my kids, bearing the guilt when they looked sad that mommy had to go study again.

I got up in the middle of the night, often at 2 am when I was 8 months pregnant, just to study for 3-4 hours before the kids woke up. 🙏 I NEED it to be WORTH it, but the questions I missed keep piling up in my mind- and on my notes, in my phone where I keep them just in case, I have to re-take it. 

I put more pressure on myself than anyone else ever could. If I did fail, there are plenty of excuses I could give myself to ease the blow. Having my fourth baby this semester would probably be a good enough reason for most people to put off taking their boards in the first place. It would be plenty enough reason for not passing. Not for me, though. I am the first in my class to take the NBDHE and I did it to myself…on purpose. 😓

There’s definitely something wrong with me. I knew that when I only missed one day of the clinic to have a baby. Even then, I filmed my required zoom reflection video from my hospital room. This baby wasn’t going to be the reason I failed…at anything. Not then, and not now. If I failed now, I didn’t study enough. I didn’t remember enough. I didn’t take enough time to read the questions. It is my fault. I am the only person to blame. All that aside, the thought of telling my kids the news puts a painful lump in my throat and the foreboding pit in my stomach. 😩

I’ve been this way for 10 days now. 😓 Moping around the house, randomly crying, and feeling generally depressed at the imaginary future of failure that I’ve preemptively accepted as my fate. “Maybe you passed. You don’t even know yet.” or “Take this time to relax and know you did all you could.” and “They throw out a lot of questions, I’m sure you’ll be fine.” Attempts to comfort me are in vain and honestly just put more pressure on me to pass. If most people feel like they fail and actually don’t, how does that help me when my feeling of failure actually comes true? Nobody gets it. At least, no one I can talk to about it, anyway.  🤐

Fast forward to day 11 and I’m at my best friend’s house, walking through the rain, solemnly carrying my typodont and instruments because we need to practice for our clinical board this Friday. Her excited and enormous dog greets/attacks me at the door as I walk in, complaining about how miserable I’ve been waiting on board results and emphasizing the certainty of my failure. She says the reassuring things friends do as she makes our necessary coffee while I compulsively check again to see if my results are in. 🧐 I’ve been doing this at least 3 times a day for the past week so it’s pretty routine. 

I’m not prepared for what I see next on the screen of my laptop after I connect to her Wi-Fi, appropriately named, “shut your dog up”. PASS!!! Holy Molar, there it is! Regina Gail Hodge…Attempt 1…PASS. 🤗 My voice shakes as she sets my coffee on the table. 🥳

“Shannon, they posted it. The results. It’s there. I PASSED! I passed the national board!” 🥳

Tears fill my eyes and my hands shake as she hugs me, congratulating me and telling me she knew I would. “But, HOW?!,” I reply in disbelief. “I feel like I missed so many questions!!” And yet, there it is. The most abrupt and life-changing word “PASS” right under my name and I still can’t believe my eyes. I’d even cried on the way to her house, praying through blurry tears that the misery of waiting would somehow end that day, regardless of my result. I’m not big on divine intervention but God was quick on this one.  🙏

There is no time for further celebration. 😅

We have to pass our SRTA clinical state board exam in two days. We begin taking turns assessing for calculus and checking each other’s probing depths for random teeth numbers we assign to each other. I silently wonder when she will get her results. I know she passed. If I did, she certainly did. 😌

The countless hours we spent together, zooming, quizzing each other, challenging each other to be better and remember more than we did our last session…all lead me to the certain conclusion that her fate will match my own. Her results will likely post the day of our clinical board exam and propel her toward another certain success.  🥰

I share this story in hopes that it inspires and encourages dental hygiene students. The self-doubt, stress, tears, and blood (literally) are WORTH IT. 😍

I started hygiene school as a mother of 3, with a 2-month-old. I gave birth during our last semester and returned to the clinic the week after. I was determined that I would have no reason other than myself to fail.

My babies would be my motivation, rather than my excuse.

I did things I didn’t know I was capable of doing and I have an amazing family support system to thank for helping me make it all happen!  🤍 💙

I passed the national boards using Student RDH by studying while holding a newborn at 2 am. 👼👩‍🍼

I gave everything I had and spent weeks in torment, waiting and hoping it would all be worth it. One of my favorite quotes is, “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.” I was afraid, as you are. It was crippling, at times. But, trust the effort you put in and enjoy the euphoria that comes with the realization that it was all WORTH IT!  ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Written by: Regina Hodge, RDH

Thank you so much Regina for sharing your fantastic story. It’s really inspiring to see you work your way through all the struggles and came out stronger! 💪

Hey future RDH, I bet after reading this blog, you are feeling more motivated and super ready to get that RDH, no matter what comes in your way! 🙌

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Related Article: [Success Story] Emese On Taking A Semester Off and Tips To Pass The Boards

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