Paige Elliott is at the stage in her journey that most undergraduate students dream of: she’s finally graduated.
But, Paige didn’t let her journey stop there. She’d never had that intention. She is currently in Augusta University’s Dental College of Georgia, working her way through the dental program.
Even though she knew since the beginning of undergrad where she was headed, getting there was a journey in itself. Paige never thought she would be interested in a dental program. As a child, she had a deep fear of dentists that caused her to never consider dentistry as the field for her. Since the age of four, Paige was involved in many kinds of sports activities. She thought for much of her teenage years that because of her sports experience, she would go into orthopedic surgery.
Then, one day, she decided to shadow her childhood dentist. “I loved the connection she had with the kids and their parents,” Paige says. As a dentist, Paige saw the opportunities to help others feel comfortable in a place where many are not, and be able to make new connections with both patients and their family members. And from that day onward, her mind was made up.
Now, near the end of her journey, Paige knows she made the right choice. “I love what I do, but it’s a really big sacrifice,” Paige says. “Grad school is a whole other world from undergrad.” Currently, she is taking 29 credit hours. On a typical day, Paige gets to school at 8:00 a.m. and doesn’t leave until 5:00. She goes to the gym, eats dinner, and then works on her assignments until 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. It can be exhausting, but Paige is willing to do what it takes.
For fun, Paige loves to spend time with her family. Her parents are both engineers, and they’ve been very supportive of her journey. “I’m 23 years old and I still call my parents for advice,” shares Paige. Her parents and their stories have taught her to be thankful for the opportunities she’s been given, and she appreciates them deeply, alongside her mentor in the Dental College, Dr. Carole Hanes. A self-described foodie, Paige also loves to cook and try new recipes.
“Whatever you choose to do, make sure you love it,” Paige advises. She believes that volunteering and having a passion to help others are what anyone needs to be successful in their future careers. “I want to make people happy,” she says, and is doing everything she can to make that happen.