Archinect
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Architecture or Dentistry

olez

Dear Archinect,

Should I go for Architecture or Dentistry?

I am Norwegian, been accepted to both(Arch at ETH as well as awaiting results from several other schools, Dent at the University of Copenhagen) and I am twisting my mind in search for the right choice. I know similar questions have been asked and thoughtfully replied to before, although I can’t seem to find the great interest in dentistry amongst architects. I find the main link in the appreciation of aesthetics and good, well-functioning design and details as well as building work, although it is on a slightly smaller scale for dentists. Anyway, here it goes:

Architecture:

A passion since I could ever remember(Lego, Brio, building huts in the woods etc., drawing, Remodelling houses for ten years with building-crazed father, who wanted to become an architect, but ended up as a Professor of Economics after doubting his drawing skills, I have always been passionate and fascinated about cities, neighbourhoods, parks, buildings and how they affect us in daily life)

I imagine university life to be immensely demanding, but still satisfying given the creative, passionate atmosphere architecture schools seem to have as well as a truly fascinating curriculum, in addition to the pure joy of making models and drawing! However… at ETH they seem to be working so much sleeping at school is the norm for periods at a time. Is this a way to spend the 20s?

I have a great interest in law and business, absolutely love arguing for what I believe in as well as keep my heads up on what is happening in the property world.

All architects I have met have encouraged me to go for it, even though they are not all still/ever were in love with it

However… I like having fun(as in travelling, kite-surfing, working out, music(play the bandoneon and trumpet, jazzy improvisation/nu tango/electronica) and having a laugh with good people). Somehow I have the impression architects tend to be depressing after a while, at least that is the impression one gets across this board. I guess this could be due to overworking(which it seems one must in this field), relationship dramas and loneliness in the event of being the sole proprietor of a practice and the fact that archinect is mainly for venting.

I speak seven languages and would love to be able to use these in my work from time to time

Don’t know if it helps really, but through my father there are many property people, some, I imagine, could be quite valuable to know

At the same time I hate networking, but I hate more the idea of not being able to support a family

More or less my whole family seems to be laughing at the thought of dentistry and admiring architecture


Dentistry

Would earn at least three times as much as an architect and would have much better chances of finding work at any time, anywhere(ideally I’d want to live in Italy, no problem to live well there as a dentist, as a foreign architect however…). An unemployment rate at some 10-15 percent amongst architects is somewhat scary

The demand to be on top all the time wouldn’t be as pressurising, a dentist will always have plenty of work available. I could work at work and focus on passions such as music/sports/life afterwards. I like life. My sister is a pianist, works constantly and has never been on a holiday, I don’t envy her.

No need to network as such, only get patients who are happy to see you. And you are forced to stay humble as no patients will see you otherwise

Get to do hands-on work where I can see immediate improvements of peoples appearance(esp. within cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics) as well as look out for/treat serious illnesses(supposedly one can see symptoms of approx. seventy percent of deseases in the body by observing the oral cavity)

I find learning about the body and people in general fascinating. And the idea of doing forensic work in criminal cases as well as work on animals seems fascinating and fun(realistic as well)

I could travel and do aid work(another dream, I once felt particularly useless when arriving at a poor village in the Venezuelan Amazon with nothing valuable to give back in return to warm hospitality)

Would love the chance to design and run a surgery my way, in my dreams even perhaps several surgeries if business was good. And given the changing demographics in Europe/obsession about appearances business should be booming

The dental students in Copenhagen that I have met are a really friendly and positive bunch and seem to have lots and lots of fun(parties, trips around the world, lots of exchange opps), the women are absolutely gorgeous and there are in general many more women within the profession than in architecture, at least hereabouts it seems. I like women.

I also like Copenhagen, but… somehow I imagine the creative vibe is… less apparent at a Dental School, ie. somewhat less inspiring. This goes for the work as well, although it is probably pleasant and fun, I find it hard to believe it will constantly bring chills down my spine in excitement

You would never become famous as a dentist(incredibly stupid, but some of you must have dreams of being that admired, talked-about practicioner in your field, right? Outside of internet forums that is)

Anyway…would I disappoint myself later on in life by not going for my passion, but rather for something that feels safe, quite fun, quite interesting and bloody comfortable? Is life more than the career, do the true passions change over a lifetime? Would I overall be much happier with work that allows for pursuit of other dreams? Did anyone of you have such a decision to make or was it only architecture?

Apologies for a very long, rambling post, replies are very much appreciated!

 
Feb 1, 07 6:23 am

do denistry, buy property, renovate it.

Feb 1, 07 6:31 am  · 
4  · 

it is a very long post, but i read it all through.
Anyway, work sucks, in all ways ... so make sure ur career will be a dream or a passion ... so it wont suck that much.
I can see u have all the qualities to be an architect and i recommend u to go for it, i am an architect myself and i love being one, although it sucks sometimes, but i feel special being an architect.
i say go for ARCHITECTURE.

Feb 1, 07 6:35 am  · 
1  · 
matteo

I say go for DENTISTRY.

I'm an architect and my father is a dentistry.
Sometimes he is paying my bills and he works half of my schdeuled hours and makes double the money I earn.

He has a private life I haven't.

Feb 1, 07 6:58 am  · 
4  · 
Heather Ring

At the Penn school-wide graduation ceremony, the dental school was seated behind the architecture students, waving giant toothbrushes and giant bottles of toothpaste. This makes me think dentists have really crazy parties.

Feb 1, 07 7:10 am  · 
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olez also sounds pretty keen on denistry as well - doesnt seem like they are thinking about it just for the money. an interest in architecture doesnt mean you have to be an architect.

Feb 1, 07 7:15 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

do both and then combine the two, become the first dentist to have architecture practice. they really isn't a difference anywho...

Feb 1, 07 7:19 am  · 
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you could design decorative mouth prosthetics, taking grilles to a whole new level. it would be huge.

Feb 1, 07 7:41 am  · 
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trace™

Dentistry, no question.

I'd also think about something like international law or business, if you are interested. you'd be a huge resource being able to speak so many languages.


The only time I can recommend architecture is when people are sure that it is their only passion. To me, it sounds like you have many, some of which can earn you a fantastic living.


Be a dentist (or lawyer or business man), make a ton of cash, support a family easily, have fun and design your dream homes. If you have extra cash, you can play with developing later on and have even more fun, make things happen.

Feb 1, 07 8:07 am  · 
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BOTS

Architecture or Dentistry or Ninja?

Feb 1, 07 8:31 am  · 
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BOTS

I read somewhere that Dentists have the highest rate of suicides amongst qualified professionals.

Can anyone verify this?

Feb 1, 07 8:33 am  · 
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Medusa

If you are fluent in seven languages, have you ever thought of working as a diplomat, or maybe a translator at the UN or something. Imagine the travel opportunities.

Feb 1, 07 9:26 am  · 
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aquapura

I've heard that too BOTS. All those anti-dentites out there. Then again architects have a divorce rate of something like 80% so we have our problems too.

My advise is neither. Take a year off and travel, sling drinks in a pub, work on a cruise ship, whatever. Just get your mind off the dentist v. architect question. Eventually it'll become clear to you where you should go. Perhaps it'll be something completely different. Who knows.

Feb 1, 07 9:26 am  · 
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meowmeow

I am not going to tell you either way which to choose since it's ultimately your decision, but I think there are some points you might be missing.

To start, some architects might seem depressing, but I think that there are a lot more who have just as many interests as you do. I think you have more of a say in the type of lifestyle you would have as an architect that you might think. And there may be hard times where you do have to work a lot and are very busy, but I feel like that could happen no matter what profession you choose.

Also, speaking 7 languages is awesome and I think it could be quite useful in architecture. Many firms do projects in many different countries and having the ability to communicate in that language could be very beneficial.

Ultimately I think it's about what you are the most passionate about. I know what I really like about architecture is that is never ceases to bore me and it's always challanging. I know that I also like to be busy, because honestly I feel that I make more out of my spare time knowing that I don't have ample amounts of it. Either way, good luck with whatever you choose to do!

Feb 1, 07 9:51 am  · 
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olez

Some fresh advice here. It's fantastic that you took the time to give some truly valueable opinions which will be taken into account.

As for why on earth only these two options? It boils down to the dream of living in southern Europe somewhere and running a business(unlikely with arch I know). Having tasted the life of investment banking in London and having family who worked for the UN I find these and similar options as inferior to me in terms of what I enjoy doing and dedicating my life to, and equally demanding as architecture, much more than dentistry(perhaps I'm thinking too much of it, but it seems a sweet deal). As for suicide rates; they are high, but still much lower than that of for example MDs. Probably linked to the drugs available. Not that it would matter anyway. Richard Mitzman is btw. one dentist-turned-architect, a route that has certainly crossed my mind, and then hopefully becoming some developer-architect of some kind. But then again, why not jump onto it right away!

www.richardmitzman.com


Again, your opinions were truly appreciated!

Feb 1, 07 1:39 pm  · 
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post-neorealcrapismist

I love this topic.

Dentist pirates vs. ninja's vs. Indy_is_crap in a battle royal.

I say go with the combination of the two and always have meetings while the clients are in the dentist chair. That way if they demand some absurd change you can drill or pick at there mouth a little hard until they recant their requests.

Feb 1, 07 1:52 pm  · 
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Heather Ring

I had a dentist with a PhD in archaeology. He got interested in teeth when he started digging them up!

Feb 1, 07 2:06 pm  · 
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le bossman

speaking of dentists, what about ninjastry?

Feb 1, 07 2:17 pm  · 
 · 
Client


GEORGE: Besides, Steven Koren has the highest of aspirations. He wants to be (pauses for effect) an architect.

WYCK: Is that right?

STEVEN: Actually, maybe I could set my sights a little bit higher.

GEORGE: (Laughs) Steven, nothing is higher than an architect.

STEVEN: I think I'd really like to be a city planner. (Sits down, addressing the entire foundation board) Why limit myself to just one building, when I can design a

whole city?

WYCK: Well, that's a good point.

GEORGE: (Mutters) No, it's not.

STEVEN: Well, isn't an architect just an art school drop-out with a tilty desk, and a big ruler? (Laughs - so do the board members)

GEORGE: (Irritated) It's called a T-square.

WYCK: You know, the stupidest guy in my fraternity became an architect - after he flunked out of dental school! (Everyone but George laughs) Contratulations,

young man. (Shakes Steven's hand)

STEVEN: Thank you.

WYCK: Susan would be proud of what you're doing.

STEVEN: Thank you.

Feb 1, 07 2:25 pm  · 
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Ana G.

Well, for me it was only one choice- ARCHITECTURE... now that I think back..there are so many things that i might have liked instead. I don't regret my choice, but sometimes it is so time-consuming that i wonder: do I still have a life? Architecture is like a disease..it consumes you, dries you out of your resources.. all in pursuit of a dream.. the perfect building..which, sadly, might not end up as perfect as you dreamed off due to the great variety of factors that contribute... if you love life and have so many interests and knowledge i think you can make a better choice. Dentistry? It's frankly at the opposite corner.. boring even..repeating specific procedures on and on.. you might know more about this than i do. I ,for one, think that your answer is in a different curricula. Good luck and let us know what you chose!

Feb 1, 07 2:54 pm  · 
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mdler

'The demand to be on top all the time wouldn’t be as pressurising, a dentist will always have plenty of work available. I could work at work and focus on passions such as music/sports/life afterwards. I like life. My sister is a pianist, works constantly and has never been on a holiday, I don’t envy her'

mdler doesnt mind being on the bottom some of the time...

Feb 1, 07 4:36 pm  · 
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dia

You may be thinking quite narrowly about architecture.

When one thinks of being a hobby architect, it is primarily about dealing with houses and property. You will not, under normal circumstances, be doing hospitals, schools, factories, retail, civic buildings, airports, churches, parks, bridges, museums, etc, etc.

What I am saying is that if you have little interest in architecture outside of the domestic, then pursue dentistry.

One thing you can't escape with dentistry is that at the end of the day, your job is looking into strangers mouths all day, and dealing with gums, teeth, abcesses, saliva, cavities, bacteria, tongues etc. I think the money is high because frankly, why would you want to do that?

One other thing to consider is that looking into the future, when you are dentist, and you are developing a property or building a new house, will you regret not being an architect? I guess an answer can be that you could always become one, because hopefully, you will have the means of becoming one.

I had a job as a student where I met alot of non-architects with a passion for architecture - doctors, lawyers, dentists, builders, house wives, artists, fashion designers - and not all of them could indulge automatically [due to financial independence] in architecture as a hobby. It is the strength of passion for architecture that should be measured, not its viability. Everything is viable if your passion is unquestionable.

You sound like a high achiever - why not make it your mission to become a great architect that makes money? If someone else has done it, surely you can. We need more architects as developers, so that we produce better public buildings, better housing and better environments.

Feb 1, 07 5:06 pm  · 
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mdler

YOU COULD ALWAYS DESIGN DENTIST'S OFFICES

Feb 1, 07 5:58 pm  · 
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mdler

OR WORK ON THE TEETH OF ARCHITECTS

Feb 1, 07 6:07 pm  · 
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snooker

Insure your hands if you want to become a dentist.....then if you loose a digit.....you can collect on the policy and become an architect.

Feb 1, 07 6:31 pm  · 
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rza

Become a dentist.

Work hard for 15 years.
--> Retire.

During your free time (in between flossing and correcting decalcified molars), design a lovely modern home with(out) the help of an architect.

Drink jus de canberges and eat cheese for the rest of your life.
-->Admire your home

Feb 1, 07 8:58 pm  · 
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Katze

Dentists get to slip in miscellaneous costs on patient statements and don't get questioned – the client just pays the bill. Architects don't have that luxury. You charge them for an extra nail and the client takes you to court. Sounds like the dentist is winning.

Feb 1, 07 10:00 pm  · 
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dia

Again, assuming that the point of being an architect is to design lovely, modernist, gleaming, gaggenau-infested houses.

Feb 1, 07 10:47 pm  · 
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Nevermore

Katze, If an architect and a dentist have a fight again each other using their respective professional tools ..then guess who'll win .

Feb 2, 07 2:14 am  · 
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garpike

A common misconception is that architects build bridges.

Nope.

Dentists do that.

Feb 2, 07 3:30 am  · 
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Nevermore

Architects do it with models..

what do dentists do it with ?.....

spitsuckers ! HAHA

Feb 2, 07 3:33 am  · 
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strlt_typ
"You would never become famous as a dentist"

be the frank gehry of dentistry

Feb 2, 07 3:41 am  · 
 · 
strlt_typ
Feb 2, 07 3:42 am  · 
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bakema

If your interest is money then a dentist does not make enough either. I personally think that dentists are people that did not have the discipline or patience to become doctors - except for those dental surgeons or course. It's like wanting to be an architect and getting a real estate license instead. If you are interested in money, go to business school. London School of Economics would do it, if your intention is to stay in Europe.

As far as the architecture question goes, I am surprised that there are a few self-loathing individuals that tell you to be a dentist based on their silly mediocre aspirations/achievements. If you want to be an architect and love architecture, you'll find a way to be happy and earn a very good living if you are smart enough - true, the odds are lower but if you do what you love you can't miss. If you have a cynical, self-deprecating personality like those who give you idiotic advise - then don't do either and marry rich instead.

Feb 2, 07 10:23 am  · 
1  · 
olez

Fantastic! I must say that I find several of these posts quite encouraging, and very much drive me towards just going for the dream! Others I understand what are trying to say, then again....

I thoroughly disagree with the notion that most dental students are med-school wannabes. I see medicine today as very much tainted by pharmaceutical companies and questionable treatments. I have worked in healthcare and seen what death and destruction modern medications have done to people. And although it opens doors to a lot of much less corrupted options as well, it rarely allows for the independence being a dentist does(national regulations across Europe come into play here). But I do admit that it scares me quite a bit if I were to be bored as a dentist and stuck because of other commitments/not becoming the rich arse/not living by the Med as I was hoping for. I find the interest in cosmetic work and obviously Oral and Maxillofacial surgery(facial reconstruction/complicated dental procedures), but that again, would limit international options.

One thing I can agree on is that there are many pretty conservative.....maybe a tad dull... dentists around, but the independent nature of the profession makes for many opportunities for many personalities.

In any case I am not after money, I have little interest in a massive house. If I could afford a two-bed flat in a decent city there would be no worries on my part. I am, however, looking for a bit of life and again, working with something I believe in, preferably with an international dimension. And from what it seems it is quite possible to maintain a few activties in life if time is managed well as an architect.

My passion for architecture might not exactly have shone through in my listing of pros and cons. But when you have been dragged out to mix cement till late at night since you were twelve, to spend days, weeks and months doing the grunt work(at night after school or during weekends) that is hidden beneath all the beauty a house/building can be... you start to appreciate it, and love it... I've been involved in building three houses till now(I'm in the third one now, a one-hundred year old Swiss-style mansion built in wood, which we have extended and completely refurbished. It is situated on an island that has been in the family for 200 years). Now I feel a rush when I find a beautiful and thoughtfully designed building, I know and appreciate the enormous amounts of work involved. I make long sidetrips just to admire some of these places, which do send chills down my spine. At the centre of it all is the fact that I love what I can plan, see, touch and experience. This is where I would love to argue and fight for a plans existence, given I believe in it(this is also where I would like to exploit my interest of law and economics). Isn't standing before a client presenting a new design a massive rush? Especially when you know they ought to accept it because your arguments are well-founded in their "language" as well as yours. I could not imagine otherwise. I would not mind at all doing the grunt work involved if I could actually reach the goal of seeing a project being completed and used.

Well, again I'd like to thank you!

Feb 2, 07 2:52 pm  · 
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strlt_typ
"Now I feel a rush when I find a beautiful and thoughtfully designed building, I know and appreciate the enormous amounts of work involved. I make long sidetrips just to admire some of these places, which do send chills down my spine."

welcome...you're in...

Feb 2, 07 2:56 pm  · 
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snooker

Make enough money? You Nuts....I just talked to my dentist...and he tells me the bill will be around eight grand.

Feb 2, 07 7:59 pm  · 
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Katze

Dentist 25th%ile Median 75th%ile
United States $107,936 $125,952 $151,098


I say the denstist is doing just fine based on national averages

Feb 2, 07 8:56 pm  · 
 · 
Katze

Dentist 25th%ile Median 75th%ile
United States $107,936 $125,952 $151,098


I say the denstist is doing just fine based on national averages

Feb 2, 07 8:56 pm  · 
 · 
Katze

Dentist 25th%ile Median 75th%ile
United States $107,936 $125,952 $151,098


I say the denstist is doing just fine based on national averages

Feb 2, 07 8:56 pm  · 
 · 
Katze

Dentist 25th%ile Median 75th%ile
United States $107,936 $125,952 $151,098


I say the denstist is doing just fine based on national averages

Feb 2, 07 8:56 pm  · 
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Katze

WTF happened...

Message to self - don't try to format while in this text box because everytime you hit the tab key you have submitted the response:))))

Feb 2, 07 8:59 pm  · 
1  · 
nursabrina

hi I'm not sure should I go for dentistry or architecture. lucky me to found this,, a lot of opinions I read that could help me in deciding which one. I love science and I also have interest in arts so yea I think I will go for dentistry ;)


Dec 10, 20 11:29 pm  · 
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midlander

sounds good wish you all the best!

Dec 11, 20 3:20 am  · 
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Abie

“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”
― Mark Manson

Oct 12, 21 4:43 am  · 
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b3tadine[sutures]

Are you sure it wasn't Charles?

Oct 12, 21 7:26 am  · 
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Proctologist. Very similar to architecture but pays much better.

Oct 12, 21 12:14 pm  · 
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midlander

and less competition from DIY types who tell you they can do it themselves and only want a dr to submit for insurance payment.

Oct 12, 21 6:40 pm  · 
3  · 
citizen

Both involve pulling teeth in one way or another.

Oct 12, 21 4:55 pm  · 
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trimtab28

My grandfather was a dentist... job lost him his hearing due to the whir of the drill.

That aside, it really revolves around what you want in life. Dentistry is the most straightforward way to make good money. By the same token, you couldn't pay me enough to look in peoples' mouths (and potentially lose one of my senses). But I know I just don't have the temperament to be a dentist. 

What would you enjoy doing in life? The reality is you're not going to be destitute doing either job. In fact, either way you'll be living a pretty solidly upper-middle class lifestyle if you go through the occupational licensure process. But if you were looking for the most likely career to go on three vacations a year and live in a multimillion dollar mansion within 10 years of graduating though, do dentistry. The most important thing is "know thyself." I had the grades and the test scores for a great law school... I also knew I'd hate the job and be working far more than I currently do if I wanted to take that route towards one of the high prestige, high income jobs people seem to think are the norm in the industry. 

Oct 15, 21 11:00 pm  · 
2  · 
TIQM

My dad was a fine, famous dentist.  He wanted me to follow in his footsteps, and tried to get me interested in it.  I interned in his office, and learned how to do lab work and to cast gold and silver. (this was back in the day when dentists actually created new teeth in precious metal!). But architecture was my calling.  I admire dentistry, there is a wonderful skill in it, and it’s great to work with your hands.  But much of the art of it is gone with current CAD technology.  And I just couldn’t imagine staring into people’s mouths for the rest of my professional career.

Oct 18, 21 10:09 pm  · 
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