Going back in time, a little girl named Daniela, at the age of 7, went to the dentist with her mother due to dental problems. Despite how chaotic it may sound for many people to go to the dentist, she felt excited and looking forward to what the experience would be like. That first approach with an office and a dentist was positive, to the point of wanting to return and in this way, initiate a great interest in dentistry, which would grow over the years. The decision was made, she wanted to be a dentist. At the age of 14, he began to investigate universities in Colombia to be able to study this profession and found the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, an institution that stood out as one of the best universities in the country in dentistry and that after much effort and preparation would become his second home. .
This is how I, Daniela Castiblanco, who tells this story of my childhood, was admitted to the dentistry program at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in 2018 and began my undergraduate studies in January 2019.
I initially studied dentistry because since I was little I felt a great attraction for my dentist's office and the work he did there. Later, during my middle and high school years, I realized that I had a great vocation for service and felt satisfaction in helping people. I also performed very well in chemistry, physics and biology subjects at school, which are sciences that inform the dentistry career, and I also enjoyed doing jobs that involved crafts. After analyzing all the things mentioned above and weaving them together, I came to the conclusion that dentistry was the discipline that had all the characteristics that I was passionate about and interested in and was what I wanted to dedicate myself to for the rest of my life. I saw that I could make a social contribution through the exercise of the profession every day and it would allow me to develop and enjoy my manual, artistic, humanistic and intellectual skills and competencies and in this way prevent and treat diseases to improve people's health and equally and likewise their quality of life.
Although I had minimal knowledge about my career, in my first week of university I enrolled in a student group that carried out dental brigades around promotion, prevention, oral health education and also diagnosis and treatment. I started my first volunteer work assisting my classmates from more advanced semesters, who showed me and explained things I didn't know. Later I became the advanced semester classmate who guided the students who were just starting out in volunteering and began to do what I always longed for, which was to carry out diagnosis, education and treatment in the communities. I was in the group for 4 years and it was an extremely rewarding experience on a personal level, my human side grew, I managed to leave a mark and be useful for the communities and for my colleagues. Furthermore, I managed to sharpen my sensitivity to social problems that, although always present, are not usually given the necessary attention.
From the fourth to the tenth semester I did clinical practices, I was able to work and apply diagnoses and treatments in the areas of prosthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, orthodontics and oral surgery in children and adults. During the process I learned to see the patient as a whole person and not just as a mouth or teeth, I learned that each one is a different story of which we must thoroughly investigate to the smallest detail to achieve the ideal treatment plan without ceasing side the bioethical part as a dentist.
On the day of my graduation, which was January 26, 2024, I received "the Xaverian order of academic merit", which is an award or distinction that my university gives to students who have achieved an outstanding average at the end of their degree. final cumulative weighted. It was gratifying to receive this distinction, which was a reflection of 5 years of great effort and dedication during my career and also motivates me to continue fighting to achieve my goals since it shows me that every effort has a positive result.
One of the most memorable and enriching experiences of my major was the rotating rural internship, which is an internship that takes place in the eighth semester. Through a lottery I was assigned to work at the hospital in a town called Oiba for 3 months. There I was seeing patients from 7:00AM to 6:00PM from Monday to Friday every 20 minutes (Average of 20-25 patients per day). The first two weeks were difficult because I had never lived alone, I didn't know anyone there and I was far from my family, Oiba is 6 hours from my city and the rules of the boarding school did not allow me to return to my city during those 3 months, without However, I was quickly able to adapt to a new lifestyle in which I developed and became a much more independent and autonomous person. It is also worth highlighting that I had professional growth, I was able to put into practice what I learned at the university, without the help or advice of a teacher in real time, I was able to empower myself and gain skills such as problem solving and decision making about problems. oral of my patients. I gained a lot of dexterity and manual agility when performing treatments.
During my free time I like to attend conferences, courses, symposiums and research meetings related to my major. These spaces have helped me expand my knowledge on topics that I want to delve deeper into, to update myself on the latest scientific advances and discover new technologies and different approaches than the one I have. I believe that it is important to know different points of view, debate and analyze them to improve as a professional and provide the best of myself for my patient and these spaces have given me that. Furthermore, thanks to the research meetings I discovered that I have an interest in research and they have influenced me to want to be part of research hotbeds on topics related to dental biomaterials and regeneration with stem cells.
I was part of the team of inductors at my faculty, the inductors are the students from the most advanced semesters who guide and welcome new students who are starting their university life. My first day of university arrived with many questions, fears and expectations and thanks to my inductors I was able to adapt more easily and reduce my fears. That being the case, thanks to my gift of service I wanted to return all the help I received from my inducers to those new students who would enter with the same anxieties as me. It made me happy to be a guide for them, to motivate them to carry out their new stage with the best attitude, and to be able to resolve any doubts they had regarding their career or the university in general, and to be their first helping hand with which they felt supported. and not alone.
"You have a great talent in your hands, never stop practicing and you will create art with them. This will help you in the fifth semester." These were the words of my teacher, Dr. Ángela María Martínez in the first semester in the subject of dental morphology, words that marked my beginning and first approach with prosthodontics. The basis of prosthodontics is manual skill, and this was the first subject in which I began to improve my manual skill by carving teeth in wax. I had great admiration for Dr Angela since her waxings were impeccable, she was always willing to teach and help me improve. She is an oral rehabilitator and when I received her words I felt motivated and started researching the specialty she practiced and it caught my attention. Two semesters later I started the dental occlusion course in which we returned to dental wax-ups and I once again felt the same passion as in morphology. Morphology and occlusion are the basis of prosthodontics. Morphology focuses mainly on dental aesthetics and occlusion on dental function, both branches complement each other, resulting in harmony.
With great eagerness I reached the fifth semester and met Dr. Angela again where she was a professor of subjects in the area of prosthodontics such as fixed prostheses I and II, total and removable prostheses. I fell in love with both the theoretical part and the practical part in simulators and prosthodontics became my first postgraduate option. When I began to perform rehabilitation treatments on patients (operative, fixed prostheses, removable prostheses and total prostheses) and was able to put into practice what I learned, I decided that the specialization I wanted to pursue was prosthodontics. I was able to realize that he enjoyed each consultation, he had a great willingness to get things done, and it was also very satisfying to be able to restore the patients' self-esteem and self-concept, restore their functional stability and improve their quality of life.
It is a secret to no one that the COVID-19 virus pandemic caused various havoc. This unexpected event affected my father's finances, who could no longer support me with the payment of my tuition. In search of solutions, I approached academic counseling and they suggested that I apply for a scholarship, which was later awarded to me with the help of my academic average. I was on a scholarship for 1 and a half years, when the economy stabilized I did not renew the scholarship to give the opportunity to another student who needed the support. During that time, I provided social service in the inclusion and diversity program offered by the university's center for identity promotion and community construction. I received various trainings around topics of inclusive education, discrimination, cultural, sexual, functional diversity and disability, to later become a trainer and facilitate training spaces around these topics. In addition, I worked on the construction of a guide booklet on inclusive language at the university to promote healthy coexistence, prevent violence and discrimination on campus.
My first acquaintance with Korea began around 2013, it is there where a fascinating interest in the unknown began, a country and a culture that I had never heard of. Through my own means I began to investigate and enrich my knowledge about history, gastronomy, education, culture, lifestyle, and technology. My love and passion for Korea increased more every day, to the point of projecting myself studying and practicing my profession in the long term. This is how I took the first step to achieve my goal and I enrolled in an academy in March 2019 to learn the Korean language, I studied the language for 3 years and due to schedule conflicts with the university I was not able to continue at the academy. However, my interest in learning and mastering the language did not stop me from continuing to study it on my own from home every week.
While I was studying my undergraduate degree, I began to investigate my career in South Korea, such as universities to study my postgraduate degree, specialties they offer, requirements, work environment, technological advances, advances in research and scientific publications. In the middle of my search I found the GKS scholarship, which could be a helpful bridge between me and my postgraduate degree. I was motivated to apply for this program since Korea has one of the best universities in the world to study dentistry and specifically the postgraduate degree that I want to study. South Korea is an exponent and leader in the field of prosthodontics and dental aesthetics, the universities have the latest implements of the digital era in dentistry that help the prosthodontist provide better treatment to their patients, such as the use of intraoral scanners and CAD CAM. They also have complete and adequate facilities such as university hospitals to put the previously discussed theory into practice and a highly trained teaching team. Furthermore, research is an area that attracts my attention and Korean dental schools make large investments in research to make progress in unknown topics and I would like to be part of a seedbed and publish in scientific journals or articles.
Furthermore, it motivates me to know that with the GKS scholarship I could improve my level of Korean, a language that I am passionate about, I want to learn and put into practice thanks to the year of Korean offered by the government.
In 2023 I decided that it was time to take my Korean language qualification exam because the time to take GKS was approaching. In June I focused my language studies around the presentation of the TOPIK and to obtain a better result, I enrolled in a pre-topik course at the Sejong Institute in Bogotá for 2 months. On October 14, 2023, I took my test, although my nerves got the best of me at the beginning and I didn't calculate the time correctly to answer the last questions, I felt pretty good for the first time, I felt like I met one of my goals and I see this experience as a learning and motivation to continue improving for the next TOPIK that is presented in the future.
Since I was little I have had a great love and passion for sports, in third grade as an extracurricular activity I enrolled in speed skating. I didn't know how to use skates and as part of the learning process I fell many times, I learned that in life it works the same, we will always have falls and despite how strong and painful they are, we must get up, face them and overcome them to continue growing. I learned that we must not give up and we must fight until the end to reach the goal. In addition, I acquired great skills such as discipline and perseverance, which have helped me throughout my life. I was skating until my last year of school because I entered university, however I still skate as a hobby on the weekends.
Since there was no skating at my university, I did not hesitate to sign up for a sport and joined the women's dental volleyball team in which I saw the importance of communication and teamwork.