While a student at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Dentistry (FoD), Dr Choo Keang-Hai (’90) had come close to dropping out of University due to financial difficulties. A bursary from the Lee Foundation enabled him to continue his studies. Now a successful dentist, Dr Choo lends his time and expertise to his alma mater by mentoring students at FoD.
He says, “Having a mentor is very important because there is only so much the school can teach, and life is very different when you have to run your own business. As a private practitioner, you have a very different approach because every patient is unique. You also have to acquire skills such as bedside manners and have a good level of emotional intelligence.”
Dr Choo has been mentoring students through the Alumni Mentorship Scheme, jointly launched by the Guild of Dental Graduates and the Faculty of Dentistry in 2006. The scheme aims to engage alumni in mentoring, coaching and guiding undergraduate Dentistry students, and each dental student is assigned to a dentist in the community.
One of Dr Choo’s mentees is Syazwan Lim, who will be completing his studies at FoD at the end of the year. He says, “Our mentors have to be greatly admired, especially since most of them have very busy schedules and yet make the time to impart their knowledge, skills and wisdom.”
Through his mentor, he is able to get a good perspective of the working world that awaits him and potential issues one might face as a practising dentist. He adds, “Meetings with our mentors are very comfortable, and we have many common topics to discuss.This makes it easy for us to share our concerns with them, and ask them a whole bunch of questions!”
Syazwan sees himself as a mentor one day, and wants to contribute to his alma mater. Dr Choo adds, “Without our alma mater, we will not be what we are today. They are the foundation of our future. I always believe that we must always contribute back to the institution that moulded our future and career.”
Find out more about the Alumni Mentorship Scheme at the Faculty of Dentistry here
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