Joyce Akinnibosun is a senior nutrition major with a biology minor, on the pre-dental track. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and shifts to virtual learning, she has been accepted to every dental school in Texas.
Akinnibosun grew up in Cedar Hill, Texas, and came to TCU on a scholarship as a biology major, but eventually switched to nutrition when she discovered she enjoys learning about nutrition and health. Akinnibosun soon joined the pre-dental club and became heavily involved because she noticed her peers interested in dentistry, and she wanted a community where students shared this common interest. She now serves as president of the organization. The pre-dental club allowed her to gain insight on how her classmates were navigating classes, studying for entrance exams, and visiting local clinics. “Joining the club was a way to keep myself engrossed in the field, and remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing,” Akinnibosun said. Akinnibosun has furthered the program and initiatives, such as organizing arrangements for the students to visit a dental clinic in Arlington, ordering t-shirts, and bringing in guest speakers to talk to students. She has also been key in advertising impression days to pre-dental students, which are days when students can connect with local dental schools.
When the pandemic hit, Akinnibosun was in the process of applying to dental schools and taking her Dental Admission Test (DAT). The new virtual format of being on a screen all day was a big adjustment for Akinnibosun. “I didn’t realize how often I went out, either for a walk or to a coffee shop, to cope with stressors,” she said. “With the pandemic, I experienced mental fatigue much faster, and it really took a toll on me. It took a lot of internal willpower, determination, and discipline to push through it.”
Akinnibosun’s preparation for the DAT paid off. She did very well on the exam and was accepted to every dental school in Texas. After graduating from TCU, she will be attending Texas A&M’s dental school in Dallas. Matt Chumchal, professor and director of the TCU Pre-Health Professions Institute, spoke highly of Akinnibosun. “She is a fantastic student in our courses,” he said. “Joyce has done a fabulous job as president of the pre-dental club, and has also overcome a lot of adversity to make it to where she is. Despite challenges this past year, she has excelled.”
Looking back, Akinnibosun is grateful to her professors at TCU. “They were all very patient and helpful,” she said. “I had so many professors who mentored and encouraged me, and I am thankful they always had an open door for all my questions.” The preparation that Akinnibosun received from TCU both academically and personally played an important role in her success in moving forward. She also credited the TCU Community Scholars Program as being a large aspect of her TCU experience, as well as a way that she made many friends.
In the future, Akinnibosun knows for sure that she wants to stay in Texas, but is open to exactly what she will be doing. “Before the pandemic, I would have said that I have the next five years all planned out, but I’ve learned to go with the flow,” she said. “Every plan I thought I had this past year was wiped away. It was definitely hard to adjust when my plans didn’t fall into place, but I’m trying to adapt to whatever comes my way.” Akinnibosun said she is teaching herself to have goals and expectations, but also the ability to adapt to change.
Reflecting on her college experience, she shared advice for future students: (1) Make the best out of your experience in college. Work hard, but make time to experience college life. It can really be lots of fun and lots of memories can be made. (2) Make connections. Friends of course, but also professors, department chairs, etc. because that could really go far and be useful in the future for recommendation letters, job searches, and more. (3) Tap into the resources that TCU provides. There are so many resources available for students!