Grad Q&A with Dental Assisting Graduate Lysander Smith

Lysander Smith knew he wanted to help other people through healthcare. First, he explored nursing, but it didn’t feel like the right fit for him. Then, when his mom reminded him how interested he was in the dental field at a young age, pursuing a career in dental assisting felt like the natural next step. He enrolled in the Dental Assisting program at Carrington Glendale Learning Center in Arizona and graduated in October 2022. Today, he works as a lead dental assistant and loves it.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Lysander and I am twenty years old. I grew up in the Maryvale area with my beautiful mother while striving every day to impact the world positively. I currently work as a lead dental assistant with Dr. Steven C. Chang, helping people smile again. In my free time, I love painting portraits for people. One day, I hope to be a dental hygienist and wow people with my art.

When did you decide to pursue a career in dental assisting?

Growing up, the idea of helping people was always important to me. So, I thought the medical field was perfect. Then, like many kids right out of high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. When I enrolled at another college, I decided to go into nursing, but then when I was in the program, it didn’t feel like the best option. I felt like I was missing something. Schooling also felt long and expensive. My mom reminded me that as a kid I had mentioned to her that I wanted to be a dentist. When she brought this up to me, I immediately thought that I should look into the dental field and came across dental assisting. I thought that I could do it on the path to becoming a dental hygienist.

What motivated you to choose Carrington College in particular?

The friendliness and compassion that the Glendale location showed me drew me in after checking out multiple schools. It was a clean and comprehensive environment that I could not resist.

What was your favorite part of the Dental Assisting program at Carrington?

My favorite part of the program was laughing in class while still learning from Mr.Hester. In addition to the textbook material, there was a lot of information that Mr. Hester provided the class from his personal and professional experiences. This created a light and airy mood, as well as a great learning experience. He pushed me to be my very best.

What was the most challenging part of your program?

The most challenging part was hoping my instructor wouldn’t be bored to death from how much time I spent practicing the same thing repeatedly to learn it!

What got you through the challenging times?

Knowing I was learning and trying my best got me through the challenging times. It also helped me to know that I would not let my hard work be taken for granted and go to waste. I tried my best for not only me and my future family but also for my family now.

Did you ever want to quit when you were in school?

Not once.

Is there a Carrington instructor or staff member who you would like to acknowledge?

My instructor, Mr.Hester. He created an interesting atmosphere and is a very funny instructor with a lot of wisdom to share. He was a lot of help because he related materials to personal experiences and that added to the hands-on learning experience.

Please tell us about your current work.

I am a lead dental assistant with the top laser dentist in Arizona, Dr. Steven Chang. I get to share knowledge with patients every day using the extensive amounts of technology that he has on hand.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I love not only helping people but learning in general. With all the technology that Dr. Chang has on hand, there is always something to learn or improve and Dr. Chang is always learning, as well. He is always keeping up with new techniques and continuing his education. That pushes me to learn as much as I can.

How did Carrington College prepare you for your career?

Carrington gave me an immense amount of hope for my future starting on the very first day. They taught us more than just basic subject matter. They enhanced our classes with additional relevant, real-world material. The professionalism that we learned was also really valuable, especially considering that I was fresh out of high school.

Do you have any advice for people interested in going into the dental assisting field and considering Carrington College?

My advice to the newbies is the same advice that I heard the first day I was in class. That advice essentially was whatever you put into this program is what you will get out of it. The idea was that if I didn’t succeed or do well, it would be my fault. That is the truth. Carrington provides all the tools and support that you need to be successful. You will get out of the program what you put into it.

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