The Class of 2020 living their 20s

By Casey Rhines, Dental Class of 2020

As the Class of 2020 approaches graduation, we can’t help but ask: Was it worth it? Our friends’ travels across the globe rivaled our tour across every nerve in the human body. Driving to the nearest 24-hour library to study biochemistry compared to trekking to the nearest dive bar for late night happy hour. As our closest friends got married and started families, we were awakened by 3 a.m. e-mails from professors.

Casey Rhines climbing at a local adventure park

They say that four years of dental school flies by, but every week full of quizzes made it seem as though it would never end. I entered dental school in my early twenties and I’m leaving in my mid-twenties.  As a member of the seven-year dental program, I was worried that I was spending these precious youthful years on stress and would not get true 20-something experiences. I was incredibly wrong. Here’s a look at the members of the Class of 2020 enjoying their 20s:

Photo of Ryan Hofsess
Ryan Hofsess and Devon Sutton compete in the Festival of Races half-marathon in Traverse City in July 2019

Ryan Hofsess, avid runner in our class, completed his first marathon with his girlfriend, Devon Sutton, member of the dental hygiene class of 2020.

Antonia Neal with daughter, Robin

Antonia Neal welcomed her first child, Robin, into the world just before taking her CDCA licensure exam. “3:30 a.m. used to be the time I go to sleep after staying up late to study for any of the many exams of dental school. But now it’s the time I wake up each morning to feed my adorable baby girl. I learned earlier on in dental school that life does not and should not stop.”

Caitlyn Lorenzo as a second-year dental student, taking instruction from Joan Lewis, affiliate professor

In true 20-something fashion, Caitlyn Lorenzo works a part-time job on top of her full-time career at school. She spends at least three days a week working at a high-end clothing store to support herself and minimize her loan debt.

Craig Lenhausen with new wife Jenna on their wedding day

“Starting dental school, you were told that everyone will leave here a doctor, but I’ll be leaving with much more: a home, a wife, a family,” Craig Lenhausen stated after returning from his honeymoon during our final year.

The Class of 2020 includes several other students who fit these narratives and many who do not. With our average age being 28, many students spent the remainder of their twenties in pre-clinical courses and some said good-bye a long time ago. Nevertheless, we have experienced the peaks and pitfalls of early adulthood together. All while making wax rims and dissecting the brachial plexus.