Connected Conversations | Edward Miller
Sometimes, you have to try something else before finding your true passion. Former bank employee turned oral health student, Edward Miller, is proof of this. Hoping to now contribute to oral health care and education, Edward is excited to jump into his career and start helping people. When he’s not in the clinic, you’ll find him enjoying the great outdoors or sipping on a good old oat milk matcha.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hey there! My name is Edward Miller and I am a third-year Bachelor of Oral Health student at the University of Adelaide. I decided to follow my passion to really help people by joining the health care industry.
When I finished high school, I studied about half of a business degree and worked in a bank doing various things, trying to find my passion. After a few years, I found that my passion was not banking and finance but I did discover that I loved working with people. I then thought of oral health as my mother was a dental therapist and thought it would be a great way to help people.
Outside of uni, I like to go hiking and travelling, which currently is mainly camping within South Australia. I love going to new places whenever I can.
Before I started my oral health degree, I travelled around some of Europe and New Zealand (luckily)! I’m itching to go away again when the borders open.
Why did you choose the University of Adelaide for your studies?
I originally studied at another university and found that the course I was doing just wasn’t for me. I chose the University of Adelaide for the Bachelor of Oral Health because the Adelaide Dental School has more than 100 years of history and they are also the only university in South Australia that offers this niche program. I would have otherwise had to move interstate to study, or do a slightly different course.
After finishing school, I decided I wanted to become a property valuer and started a business and property degree. While I was doing this, I worked at a bank for a few years. I decided that I wanted more than to be in finance forever and I really wanted to help people live healthy lives. This is when I decided to try oral health. Firstly, I had to get an interview for this degree and I studied the course content hard. After I got in, the first hurdle was that, in school, I always focused on maths and business-related subjects, so I had no background in anything science-related. This meant that biology, physiology, and chemistry were foreign languages to me. It definitely presented challenges along the way, especially studying such a hands-on course throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
What inspired you to pursue a career in health?
I have always loved working with people and helping people. I have always wanted to make a difference on people’s lives, supporting them to live a healthier and happier life. That’s what made me pursue health initially. Oral health is about more than just teeth. It’s about the people and their children as well, how they treat their bodies, and that’s why I love my degree. I know I will be able to help people prevent disease in their lives to become happier and healthier. I know that lots of people don’t know how to properly look after themselves (other than brushing teeth) so I hope to contribute to that in some way.
What do you love most about studying at the University of Adelaide?
The facilities here are great and I love the amount of practical experience that I have gained so far while studying at the University of Adelaide. I get to see my own patients in the clinic every week and I also get to practice my skills in a simulated environment as well. I also like that the number of people in my course is so small, as it makes it easy to get to know everyone individually, especially the teaching staff. It’s great to really get to know them and their experience. It also makes me feel comfortable asking questions as well as I feel they know me personally.
How do you think the University of Adelaide has helped prepare you for your future career?
I think that the University has prepared me for my future career well by giving me lots of hands-on experience from very early on, so that I can gain the confidence to be a fantastic clinician in the future. And, if I decide to do something else, I have learnt lots about health promotion and research as well! There are so many options — the potentials for my future career are endless. While sometimes it seems like, when you graduate, you will be an oral health therapist and that is it, but I have gained so much experience in a wide range of areas. I feel that I could do many different things and I know my knowledge will take me places because I have seen where it has taken others by opening door to opportunities.
Have you ever had a life-changing experience?
I feel like my whole life has been a life-changing experience really, especially since finishing high school. I’ve really discovered myself and my passion for helping people, which has made me try many different things to get to where I am today. This degree has also really opened my eyes to things like Indigenous awareness and the physiology behind how things happen in the body.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Most people probably don’t know that I love the outdoors, as being a uni student has definitely taken the vitamin D out of me. I love hiking and camping whenever I can.
What are your top café/restaurant recommendations around Adelaide?
I am usually so indecisive that I make whoever I am with choose where we go! But I recently discovered a new place called Uncle Kev’s on Grenfell Street, which has a delicious avo smash bagel although, wherever I am, I just love an oat milk matcha or iced matcha.
What’s your dream job?
At the moment, my aspirations are to become a good oral health therapist. I would like to be able to gain good experience when I graduate in a rural location somewhere and take it from there. I’d like to work in areas that are in need of oral health care and making the most of being a prevention-based health professional, so working in remote communities really appeals to me at the moment. But I feel like, each time I learn something new, it adds another thing to the list of things I’d love to do in my career!