Resolutions | January Dean's Message

A Message from the Dean

January marks a time when new year resolutions are made. Some people don’t like the term resolutions, so they set goals. It is an interesting process, because many of the goals and resolutions aren’t pursued beyond Valentine’s Day. But I believe there is something hopeful, and even optimistic, about the mental exercise of placing the things of last year in the past and charting a path forward into the unknown of refreshed dreams, hopes and aspirations.

I am sure that for many of you the act of being hopeful and aspirational is challenging after enduring two years of navigating a pandemic. As hard as it may be, we must aspire, hope and dream. 

In spite of all we have endured, I remind you of something obvious. Today, just like any other day, brought a sunrise. Some days it’s brighter and clearer, but the sun rose. Although we feel the coldness of January in Minnesota, without fail, the months to come will give way to warmer temperatures, green grass and colorful flowers. This week, like most weeks, we care for patients, educate students, submit research grants and write papers. There are still thousands of students interested in becoming oral health professionals, interviewing and making plans to begin programs next year. They are dreaming and aspiring, and we are here to train them in their future careers. I suggest we have a reason to remain hopeful and optimistic: it is because of the care we provide to our patients and training we give to our students who will provide care for many years to come.    

As we launch into 2022, it is important that we take stock of ourselves. We still have great things to accomplish, and we can’t accomplish them without each and every one of you. The customary pre-flight message informs us that if oxygen masks deploy we should put on our mask first. The point is that without your oxygen mask, you won’t be in a position to help someone else.

This year I recommend that you be self-aware and engage in self-care. There has been a lot of information about well-being lately, and it is important. We have endured this pandemic for much longer than many of us imagined, and it is unclear how and when the end will be. Each of us must help one other by making sure we take care of ourselves in a way that allows us to continue to contribute to the great work we do every day. Today, I encourage you to truly stay safe and healthy. Take a minute to laugh deeply and enjoy the smiles of family and friends. 

I wish everyone a healthy and prosperous New Year! I look forward to seeing your smiling faces in person.