Tyler Brown and Tyrell Fridie are two friends who met in graduate school at Barry University in Miami with the mutual goal of becoming dentists. They arrived together at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine as members of the D21 class, with memories of the predental process still fresh in their minds. Knowing others would face the same challenges, they created “Future DDS,” a YouTube channel, website, and Instagram account for predental and dental students that mixes advice and interviews with the pair’s easy-going touch and evident camaraderie.
What started out as an off-the-cuff video shoot has grown to a library of nearly 300 videos that documents their TUSDM journey, and serves as a rich resource for future and present dental students.
Brown and Fridie are headed to private practice after graduation; Brown in his hometown of Atlanta, and Fridie in his home state of Maryland. They plan to stick with their platforms after they make the jump from students to professionals, and have recently added a section to the website with message boards, so followers can talk to each other directly.
Before they closed out their TUSDM careers, they produced this episode: Get the Most Out of Dental School: Top 5 Dental School Takeaways. (Everyone should pay attention to Number 3!)
Tufts Now caught up with Brown and Fridie, who talked about how it all began, and what happened next.
Tyler Brown: It was really an organic idea. We were sitting there one day and we were like, you know what? We wish we had had the platform that we’ve created. And so literally right after we said it, we stood up and we shot our first video.
Tyrell Fridie: That video has never been released!
Brown: The third or fourth day of school we went into one of the little rooms on the side of Merritt Auditorium and we made our first official video. It was kind of makeshift.
Fridie: We didn’t have a script or anything. We just knew if we were going to do it, we had to get started.
Brown: There was a time when we started to move a little more heavily into using scripts, but then it got to a point where it almost felt too scripted. We wanted to focus more on being our genuine selves. Whatever comes to mind, we just say it, for better or worse.
Fridie: We might write a list of five things that we want to talk about in the video and then organically flow from topic to topic. There are mistakes that happen, but sometimes it happens in one take.
Brown: We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. It’s a great feeling. [Pre-COVID] there would be tours going on through the school and we would get stopped all the time by potential students, saying ‘Thank you so much.’ And that was what we used as fuel to keep us going. We’re just happy that we’ve been able to provide some source of content that can live forever and be a helpful resource.
Fridie: We’ve covered so many topics, from [Dental Admission Test] prep to the application cycle to literally walking people step-by-step on how to fill out an application. We’ve done interview tips and tricks. There’s such a wide array, I couldn’t even tell you every name of every video.
Brown: The most popular have been our dental school experience interview series [with students from other dental schools], especially from the bigger schools. Also, lists: The Top 5 Reasons You’ll Be a Great Dentist; Top 3 Things You Need to Know Before Dental School.
Fridie: I like people’s stories. We’ve been able to create connections with people that way.
Brown: My favorites are probably the ones where we’re giving very, very raw advice. There’s advice that is unique to us, and our genuine experiences, and we’ll tell people little things like: ‘Hey, you know everybody says, don’t do all-nighters—but you really, really shouldn’t do all-nighters! And this is why.’
Fridie: A lot of my favorite experiences happened off camera. Going to conferences; meeting people; having authentic conversations. That’s the true value for us.
Brown: I was lucky enough to go to Peru my sophomore year on a service trip. It really made a huge impact on me. And those opportunities are out there for everybody at Tufts. I always tell people, open up those emails; register for those webinars; reach out to the faculty because it’s all a great source of information and support.
Fridie: Your dental school experience is exactly what you make of it. Even if you don’t want to do things that are school related, you can build your tribe of colleagues who will be going along with you for the next 10, 20, 30 years. You can leave here and say, ‘OK, I went and got my dental school education,’ or you can leave here and have a new family.
Helene Ragovin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.