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A week in the life of Louise Brownlow

Dental student at King’s College, London, and Presidentof KCL SMILE Society.


Day 1:

Hi everyone, Louise Brownlow here, I’m a 4th year dental student at Kings College London and the founder and co-president of KCL SMILE Society, a student lead volunteer scheme for local schools in London.

I’m afraid blogging has commenced on a fairly boring week, as my end of year exams are two days away. I decided that I would give you an insight into my ‘exciting’ revision routine, and maybe throughout the week pass on a few tips to any younger dental students, as I have SEVEN years under my belt.

I was diagnosed with dyslexia quite late in my studies, and after many frustrating years of struggling behind my peers the penny finally dropped. I learnt that leaving things to the last minute brings nothing but stress and anxiety but finding like minded people to study with can be a life saver.

So what have I done today? I’ve spent all day in a coffee shop with my friend Sadie (see picture) teaching each other Periodontolgy. She is my revision side-kick, when I am flagging she picks me up and when she gets stressed I talk her down. We have done this every year and it helps to learn in a more relaxed environment away from university.

I used to suffer with severe anxiety during exam season, but over the years have gained experience and confidence in myself, and I try to believe that the hard work I have put in over the year will mean success in these exams.

At 7pm I switch off and STOP revising every day... I need some down time to process today’s revision. Tonight I’ve forced my mate Shura to cook me a curry. We chilled with a beer to watch the Manchester derby... not the result I was hoping for but I won’t be losing sleep over it...

On that note... bed time I think.

Over and Out


Day 2:

So... last night was the worst night’s sleep I’ve had in a while! I guess the exams are affecting me more than I thought!

I spent all of today going through essay plans in preparation for Thursdays exam, 6.30pm could not come fast enough and as soon as it did I was off to the gym.

Making time for yourself during exams is very important, knowing what it is you need to destress and doing it (responsibly) should be part of your plan. For me 'my time' is gym time, and being a bit of a fitness fanatic, regular exercise has always been an important factor of my ongoing sanity.

I decided on the spur of the moment to join tonight’s boxing class at the gym, which I haven’t done in nearly two years... A few pulled muscles later and the day was finally done, home time. I was all set for a chilled night in, stick on my footed pyjamas and undo all the hard work in the gym by eating my weight in chocolate. However, as fate had it my friend Benedict dragged me out for a drink by Tower Bridge.

That’s what I love about London, you can get a call from a friend who happens to be in your area and all of a sudden your plans have changed. I am lucky that I have many friends from my old university (Liverpool) and my job (ski holiday rep) who live around London.

Guess the sleep deprivation is on a roll over...


Day 3:

I pretty much had to drag myself out of bed today... Partly because I have seized up from my boxing session last night, and partly because I am starting to lose momentum with revision. Both me and my revision chum are feeling pretty drained after going over the same stuff day after day... Who’d think there would be so much to learn about teeth!

Seeing as today has been a bit of a flop, I thought I’d tell you how I normally spend my Wednesdays;

Rotations today normally alternate between Removable Prosthodontics and Pediatric dentistry... pretty far ends of the age spectrum! Both these clinics have been my biggest hurdle this year, as up until a month ago I couldn’t for the life of me figure out jaw registration for complete dentures. I come from a tiny family in Manchester, where I am the youngest, so connecting with children is a brand new concept for me... I also find the deep stares from the parents quite disconcerting when they are watching your every move.

Today KCL SMILE society ran another event today at the Vauxhall Children’s Centre, this involved the King’s dental students meeting with parents of young children to give them advice about their families’ oral health. Unfortunately I haven’t managed to get hold of a picture, but I will post one when I do.

I’ve pretty much spent the whole night in my onesey (see picture) on my laptop trying to cram the last bits of information in... I've not been very productive due to the amazing TV on tonight (typical!). If you didn’t manage to catch ‘The tallest tower’ tonight then get yourselves on 4OD and watch it, as its showing the whole construction of the Shard at London Bridge. Those of us at Guy’s hospital have been fortunate to see the whole thing grow, and from the best view as well (the 26th floor).

Bed time soon... I need to be well rested for my exam tomorrow...

Wish me luck!

Day 4:

Today I woke up stupidly early... I can never lie in, in the morning when I have an exam, I guess the stress and adrenaline starts to kick in... I was so happy to get it out of the way, and as soon as it was done I decided to take the rest of the day off and let my brain have a rest.

This involved watching TV all afternoon and having a little snooze... before I knew it there was a special someone who came knocking on the front door... It was only my housemate Siobhan who has FINALLY returned from Aberdeen after 9 weeks of recovering from being hit by a car. I felt so bad for her when she first broke her leg- I was worried about how it would affect her first year of dental school and how her injuries would affect her ability to walk in the future. She has been fortunate enough to have a great network of support around her from her friends and family, and I believe she will overcome any hurdles thrown at her.

This evening we all went for a curry in Mile End to celebrate my housemate’s birthday, and it was absolutely delicious! It’s nice to see everyone relax and enjoy themselves because as of tomorrow I know the revision schedule kicks in again for most of us.

I am not completely naive in thinking I will never sit exams in my career again, however, I really am looking forward to eventually graduating and working in the normal world outside of university without so many examinations. I am about to turn 25 this month and although I knew going back to university would be a life altering process (for all the right reasons), it doesn’t mean I haven’t found it difficult to see most of my friends start to settle in jobs, mortgages and even children. I guess knowing that I am in the right career is enough to keep me motivated.

I am literally typing with one eye open... Another late night it seems.

Catch you all tomorrow.



Day 5:

This morning was such a nice lie-in... That was until the builders next door decided to drill into our flat through the wall.

I have very little to report on today... I was back to revision and only left the house once to get chocolate and Irn bru.

I started revision on oral surgery today, which is my favorite clinic at the moment. It wouldn’t surprise me if people in my group thought I was a bit annoying on oral surgery clinics... at the start of the sessions I am super pushy to make sure I get to do a difficult case every week... and if I get an easy extraction I am most likely to sulk all afternoon, I guess that’s the only child in me :) The way I see it, if I only get to do it once a fortnight I want to make sure I’m learning something good... who knows what specialties I might take an interest in once I graduate.

I’m afraid I didn’t take any pictures from today... all I have done is read, eat and practice sutures on a bagel (FYI- it’s a bit dry... I would recommend fruit or a meat product instead). I then finished up the night watching back to back Grey’s anatomy and flicking through old photos that bring back good memories. So instead of a rubbish picture from today I thought I would share my favorite picture our fellow Heart Your Smiler Sarah Congreve and myself from a few years ago.

Hope it makes you smile... It always makes me.



Day 6:

I’m sorry for my lack of blogging yesterday, not only was my day TOO boring to write about, but it also wore me out so much that I fell asleep as soon as I got home.

I have ten days of revision and exams left and then hopefully that will be it for a while, until next semester anyway, when I will finally be a 5th year!!! I have a great present on my last exam (OSCE) too... as it will be my birthday... So I will have much to celebrate on the 16th May.

I have two months to get my act together and get all my errands done before I jet-off to Australia in august for my elective (which I need to sort out too). The main project I have to complete is to try and branch out SMILE societies to other universities. This is to enable them to start their own public health projects in their local areas for their students to take part in. We (KCL SMILE Society) have many projects on the go at the moment, and those should hopefully continue for years to come, long after I have left. I am stepping down from presidency this year to pass on the society to a younger, hipper SMILE member... I know they will do a good job, whoever gets elected because they are all good eggs:-)

I am excited to be involved in the future Heart Your Smile events, one of which I will be on the HYS stand at the Westminster show on the 26th May, so anybody there should come and say hi.

That’s all from me... I hope my week wasn’t too boring to read about.

Those who wish to follow me on twitter- @louise1358


Louise Brownlow - Heart Your Smile Ambassador