Words From Your Peers

Life Is Short: Chase Your Dreams by Changing Careers

Posted by Afsaneh NouriHoushyar, Ph.D. on July 27, 2022

Let’s make our dreams a reality. I’ve always believed that we only have one chance of living the life we dream of, and it’s our duty to make that happen.

Growing up in Iran, I had two big dreams: being a university professor and being a dentist. Through these career paths, I saw opportunities to contribute to society and play a crucial, positive role in the development of others. When I immigrated to the United States, I’ll never forget hearing about how the country is the “land of opportunity.” 

Through teaching as a professor, I could help improve others’ knowledge, and through that create an educated community in which everyone can fulfill their potential and follow their dreams. Fulfilling this first dream has been the product of the last 10 years, as I worked hard to get my Ph.D. in engineering and a master’s degree in the pursuit of becoming a university professor. 

While teaching at the university, I did my best to guide students and maximize their foundational knowledge to better assist them in having successful careers and happy lives. Whether it was spending extra time during office hours with single parents from low-income families who sought an education as first-generation college students, or providing more assistance to my international students who did not speak English as their first language to review learning materials in more detail—working with students of all backgrounds made me happy.

However, I have now shifted my focus to contributing to society through my other dream: becoming a dentist. While the transition from a career in academia and engineering has been neither the traditional route nor the easiest route, I believe that in life, we must challenge ourselves and overcome obstacles to make ourselves strong and grow. While exploring this new path and journey, ADEA resources have been invaluable. From the ADEA GoDental Virtual Fair or their informative blogs, these events and resources have helped carve my path and helped me to better understand what I need to accomplish as I change career paths. After learning about the different components needed to be a successful predental student, I enrolled in classes. I have greatly enjoyed becoming a student again and taking the necessary science prerequisite courses for dental school. 

Through this nontraditional path, I have seen myself grow as a person. I believe life is too short, and we must work hard and enjoy each moment of it. 

If you love your goal, even the most difficult journey will become easy and enjoyable. I am so excited to have chosen to commit to this path toward dentistry, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so. I encourage other predental students and those going through a nontraditional path to also take the leap and make your dream a reality!

Find more resources for nontraditional applicants.

About Afsaneh NouriHoushyar, Ph.D.:

Afsaneh NouriHoushyar, Ph.D._headshot

Afsaneh NouriHoushyar, Ph.D.
Adjunct Faculty 
California State University, Los Angeles

Predental Student
California State University, Pomona

Afsaneh NouriHoushyar completed her Ph.D. in industrial engineering and now teaches as a university adjunct faculty member. Dr. NouriHoushyar taught multiple graduate and undergraduate courses in engineering and business. She has published and presented many research papers in academic journals and at international conferences. 

Dr. NouriHoushyar is currently a predental student and she is excited about applying to dental school this upcoming cycle to start a new chapter in her life.