Back in January 2017 I did a 24 hour takeover of the Future Dentists Snapchat account. And ever since then I’ve been meaning to write a short feature article all about it. Now that my second year exams are over I finally have some more time available to dedicate to my blog!
I can’t remember exactly how I first came across the Future Dentists SC account but I am glad I did because it’s an awesome initiative.
I’m hoping some of you watched my takeover. It was fun! I enjoyed snapping a day in my life at Barts and The London Dental School to share a bit of my experience with others (prospective and current dental students). But I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a regular user of Snapchat, and that was probably massively evident for anyone who watched me…
Before you read any more of this feature post, I want you to follow this check list and once you’ve completed it then you can carry on reading! 🙂
Ok great, so now that I’ve confirmed you follow the Future Dentists SC account let’s go ahead and find out more about it all.
If you’re someone who is familiar with my blog, you will know that I am crazy passionate about dentistry; I am loving dental student life so far, the further through I get the more I love it with every passing day. And I really love the fantastic online dental community which exists; it’s great how dental students and dentists from all across the world can connect and communicate with one another via various online mediums such as Instagram, Facebook, Personal Websites and of course SNAPCHAT 🙂
I was intrigued about this Future Dentists Snapchat account when I came across it back in late 2016 and figured many others would be too. So I wanted to write this post to let you all know a bit of background about it. Because I for one was immediately curious to know who created it and what made them take the initiative?!
Let me first briefly explain what the Future Dentists Snapchat account is all about…
So basically, any dental student interested in taking over the account for a day can easily get in touch with them by sending a DM via Instagram or better yet writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling them who you are, what school your at, what year you’re in and the fact that you want to takeover the account for a day.
You’ll get a message back and can simply arrange a day that suits to get involved and snap a day in your dental school life! I’ve watched a whole bunch of different takeovers now and they are all really interesting, and what I like is that they’re always unique with a different twist.
It’s just a really interesting and rare insight into what it’s actually like to study dentistry in different schools. You’ll be surprised at how different things get taught and the dental training environments are! I always find myself watching and thinking: “I wish we had that at my dental school!”
So anyway, that’s basically the concept explained, pretty simple right?! But it works so well!
And another great aspect is that as a viewer of the snaps, you can engage with the dental student taking over by sending them snaps/messages back! When I took over, loads of people sent me lovely messages and questions they had about my school, my journey and generally about dentistry in the UK.
I have to be transparent here though, as well as wanting to takeover because I wanted to show everyone around my amazing dental school, I also saw it personally as a great opportunity to promote my new website and that’s one of the main reasons I wanted to do a takeover. Guilty as charged officer, take me away <– there’s my selfish reason. But I really enjoyed my takeover and would like to do another takeover maybe next year, when I’m a third year and am doing more interesting dentistry (i.e. actually seeing patients as opposed to in the SIM lab)
Having said that, I don’t think it would be so easy for me to snap on clinic since we of course as dental professionals must respect patient confidentiality and snapping away for thousands around the world to see is a clear breach of our duties of care.
So after reaching out to the guy who runs it, speaking with him on the phone and via email to do some extra research, here’s the inside scoop:
The Future Dentists Snapchat account was founded by Lucas (Luke) Shapiro, a native New Yorker. Luke grew up in downtown Manhattan (near the Freedom Tower) and went to school in Brooklyn. He is currently a D2 student training at Stony Brook Dental School which is in Long Island, New York, USA.
The stats are pretty impressive.
Currently the Future Dentists Instagram page has over 3,250 followers (figure accurate as of May 2017) and this number is growing super fast!
As for each individual takeover, the snaps on any day receive thousands of views, so there’s a really great interest and an engaged audience tuning in.
This map graphic is a now many months out of date, but the stars show SOME of the countries and US states for the locations of the dental schools that have taken over the account so far! Pretty cool global reach.
Here’s a cheeky interview with some questions that I asked Luke (LS)
DDS: Any other dentists in the family?
LS: My dad. He is the best dentist ever! He is @ismilenyc on Instagram.
DDS: So could you just briefly tell me about what made you want to study dentistry?
LS: Growing up with my dad as my mentor, how could I not join him? Honestly, I always thought about entering the medical field and dentistry makes the most sense. I feel like my dad has always been training me to have a “dentist’s eye”. I also like how the field of dentistry combines health, academics, business and more. I love talking to patients and helping them solve their problems!
DDS: What kind of dentistry interests you in particular and what are your future plans in dentistry? Would you like to specialise?
LS: There are so many interesting fields in dentistry, it’s very hard for me to focus. I would like to specialize in orthodontics, but I also love all the other fields. I also enjoy aesthetics and digital technology (I think my dad had some influence on that)
DDS: How did you come up with the idea for it?
LS: My brother wanted to know how to find out about different dental schools in US as he was deciding which ones he wanted to apply to
Additionally, the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) hosts many events throughout the year. At all the conferences, everyone is always asking each other how is SIM lab, what does your school have or not have, etc. So I noticed there was a natural curiosity between all of the dental students.
I then worked together with some members of ASDA at my school in Stony Brook to help bring this to fruition.
DDS: What did you do before dentistry?
LS: I did a 6-month placement whilst an undergrad in Madrid, Spain
DDS: What college and majors did you do pre-dental school?
LS: I grew up in NYC and went to school for 15 years in Brooklyn (all the way through high school). I then went to college at Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri – the Midwest). They have an amazing pre-health program and I was between physician and dentist. However, I was a Spanish major but I also took all the pre-requirements to be a dentist. As a part of my major, I studied abroad for 6 months in Madrid. During a couple of summers, I led groups of American students on 1 month long tours throughout Spain. One summer I pretended that I was from Spain and spoke zero English (a tactic to help the American students learn Spanish). It was hilarious! They tried to teach my American songs and phrases and would ask me about growing up in Spain. When they found out after 3 weeks that I was actually from New York (with no Spanish blood) – they flipped!
DDS: What are the rules you have when people take over the account?
LS: I don’t give anybody rules… for now. I am still evaluating what takeovers are the best. I just give people guidelines, such as making sure to snap the SIM lab, interview some faculty and students and just have a good time.
DDS: What kind of takeovers are the best?
LS: My personal favourites are the unique ones. Anybody can go into a SIM lab or cafeteria and be like “here are our facilities.” I like the takeovers that go above and beyond to really show us what it is like to be a student there for the day and really have fun with it. When the people snapping have a good time, the audience has a great time!
DDS: What are your future plans for the account if any? Or will you just let it develop in its own way organically…?
LS: The future plans are to keep on growing the audience, keep on taking over and then go from there. I’m hoping to find certain students dedicated to @futuredentists who could help grow the community and unite all the dental schools across the world. I think this would definitely be possible because dentistry is such a small field, so how cool would it be to have a tight-knit international community of dentists 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out a little bit more about @FutureDentists
If you haven’t already, why don’t you get in touch with Luke and do a takeover yourself, I for one would love to see what it’s like at your school!
Thanks for reading 🙂