You are here

Don't Expect Life to be Linear

Advice from Dr. Nora Vinh Svihl, School of Dental Medicine Alumna of the Year

Campus News  |  May 10, 2016  |  By UNLV News Center
Dr. Nora Vinh Svihl

Dr. Nora Vinh Svihl, School of Dental Medicine Alumna of the Year (courtesy photo)

Dr. Nora Svihl, ’03 BS Biology, ’07 DMD Dentistry, is the founder of Fountain Valley Dental Care in Fountain Valley, Calif. She has also volunteered her dental services to those in need in South America, Ethiopia, and Mexico in addition to providing free care to the homeless population in her area.


The advice I’d give myself as a new graduate … is it’s going to be hard. You’ll have to stretch your mind, your stamina, and your budget way more than you thought. The linearity of your academic life will now become non-linear and complex. In business and life, you may be torn between choosing the better of several options.

Even though you’ve been awarded a dental degree, you will actually have to practice your own version of therapist, life coach, surgeon, mechanic, scientist, teacher, CEO, CFO, and COO. Let’s not forget wife, daughter, mother, and sister.

I would tell this new graduate that the people who are sitting in that dental chair, looking at you all have a story — sometimes an extraordinary one — and that you must try to understand this story before you can enjoy the privilege of helping them.

The Alumni Advice series is part of our special 2016 commencement week celebrations, which include the annual Alumni Association Awards Program May 12, and the spring graduation ceremonies on May 13 and 14. Join us in congratulating our newest alumni on social media with #UNLVGrad.