Dynisty Nepinak

Taking a Bite out of Career Uncertainty: Dynisty Nepinak Dives Headfirst into Dentistry

“I've always struggled with trying to pick out which path I want to go on. But this one seems like the best one for me,” beams Dynisty Nepinak. Her family is from Pine Creek First Nation and she recently turned 18. Born and raised in Winnipeg, she’s a University of Manitoba student with dreams of becoming an orthodontist. She takes the bus to school not far from where she lives and she’s riding towards a bright professional future every day. 

“I've always struggled with trying to pick out which path I want to go on. But this one seems like the best one for me.”

Dentistry helped her a lot growing up and she was never afraid of the dentist like so many of her peers. She could fall asleep in the dental chair while they worked on her teeth. She imagined it would be an amazing career and after all the time she spent with a mouth full of braces, she has learned a lot through exposure. 

Going to university was something she always wanted to do because few of her relatives graduated high school let alone post-secondary. She wanted to make her family proud and to have the honour of being the first in her family to do so. Her childhood of crooked teeth set her straight on the path to a career she smiles just thinking about. Three years of braces and the remarkable results have provided motivation and inspiration to pursue her university dreams with confidence. 

One of her biggest obstacles was going back to a funeral in her senior year and seeing the impact death had on normally happy, outgoing, funny and joyful people. She saw how it brought them to their worst and noticed their sadness. Ruminating on that experience made going back to school and catching up hard. Dealing with all the emotions was hard but she’s overcome those tough feelings with time. 

Illustration by Shaikara David

If she could share a message with her younger self, it would be to appreciate what she has in the moment. Now that she’s older and living a busy life full of deadlines, stress and worries, she longs for the time when she was younger and had fewer responsibilities and concerns. She wishes someone had told her to enjoy the moments of her youth. 

Something that made things harder when she was growing up was not having a hobby she really enjoyed. Having a hobby to enjoy is something she feels really supports mental wellness. Journaling is something she does to maintain her mental health, writing down all her thoughts feels like free therapy and can even be fun sometimes. Unloading her stress onto the page helps her feel better and having writing to look forward to at the end of a long day of assignments really boosts her mood. 

When it comes to inspiration, Nepinak looks to her mom and all that she’s been thorough as someone who never graduated from high school and who struggles with addiction and mental health challenges. Knowing her mom never had the chance to live the life she’s living but has stood by her, guiding and encouraging her has been really inspiring. Having such a great person by her side helps her keep going, full of gratitude. 

She’s struggled to find the right path for her, but in the end Dynisty Nepinak has found a career to smile about as she goes to school in hopes of becoming an orthodontist. Knowing how transformative dental work can be, she’s found a field of study she can really sink her teeth into. Driven to be the first in her family to grin in university graduation photos, she’s continuing her education journey full of inspiration and motivation to succeed.

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
    First Nations
  • Province/Territory
  • Date
    April 2, 2024
  • Post Secondary Institutions
    No PSI found.
  • Discussion Guide
    create to learn discuss

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