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Carrington College Blog

Grad Q&A with Dental Assisting Graduate Nicole Trujillo

March 6, 2023

When Nicole was about nine years old, as she describes it, her teeth were “messed up.” They were too large and crooked. She was ashamed of them and tried her best never to smile. Finally, in 7th grade she got braces. Four years later, her teeth were bright white and straight. She could smile again, happy and confident with herself. She felt so much better she wanted to share that feeling with others. This was the beginning of her journey that led her to Carrington College’s Dental Assisting program and a career as a Dental Assistant. But she will not stop there. This is her story.


Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Bay Area and grew up in Mountain View. My parents are Mexican immigrants; my dad is a waiter and my mom stayed home to raise 8 children, including me. I’m 22 years old. I have one older brother who is 23 and the youngest of my siblings is three years old.


Have you been an influence on any of your siblings?

Yes, one of my sisters who is a senior in high school now, used to listen to me talk about the Dental Assisting program a lot and now she’s interested in going to Carrington.


How did you find out about Carrington’s Dental Assisting program?

I heard about it from one of my friends who was enrolled in the same program on the Sacramento campus. I always had dentistry in the back of my head, but I had also thought of trying nursing. After two years of community college I was ready to choose which direction to go.  I decided against nursing because when it came down to it, I was really scared of needles!  I didn’t want to poke people.


What was the most challenging thing about being a student at Carrington?

Test taking! I’m not a good test taker. Memorizing terms, learning information just takes me longer.  I preferred the hands-on tests because I did much better.


What was your favorite thing about Carrington?

The instructors and the classmates – they all made learning more fun. I also loved the fact we got to practice on real-life patients before going into my externship.  It was great preparation. All the instructors were really encouraging and helped navigate me through the course; they just made it easier.


I understand you were hired for a full-time job from your externship. Can you talk about that?

Yes, I started working in a dental office in Tracy, which is half an hour from the Stockton campus and just five minutes from my home.  Five weeks into it they offered me the job. I graduated last December and now I’m working full time.  I went to Carrington because I knew they also had a Dental Hygiene program. I plan to start in about a year. As a Dental Hygienist you interact more with the patients and learn more about their dental history. You interact with the dentists more as well.


Is there any advice you can give to a potential student thinking about entering the Dental Assisting program?

Sure. First of all, it doesn’t matter how old you are – you can be grown up with kids or right out of high school. The field is open to anybody and the school is very welcoming.  Secondly, there are no wrong questions. Whether in a class room or at your externship, you can ask anything. People want to help you out. If you need help and are willing to stay after class, teachers will stay and help you with the text work or with practicing any procedures, or they can help you find information in the library.


Your parents must be so proud of you!

Yes, they are proud. They want me to continue my studying too. They kid me, saying I’ll be able to clean their teeth now and get them a good deal! (laughs)

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