When I was a sophomore in high school, I thought I knew what I was going to do in my life; I was going to attend Northwest Nazarene University to earn my bachelor’s degree in psychology then become a police officer. During my senior year, I thought I was going to join the military. I tried for the Air Force right after I graduated in 2015, but quickly discovered it wasn’t for me (thankfully before I signed any commitment papers). During my attempt at enlisting, I was studying for the ASVAB, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, I discovered a love for studying (I know, I’m a little nerdy). I decided to not go down the military career path and start community college. Through some browsing on the internet for careers, especially ones that focused on science, since I seemed to understand that more than anything else, I discovered astrophysics, or physics in space. I had never taken physics before and I wasn’t good at math, but I thought “Why not give this a go?”
After acceptance to my local community college, I had to take a couple math and English placement tests. I was placed into an English class that was one level below the college level, and the lowest math class offered at the college; pre-algebra. Quite literally, on the first day of that class, our practice problems were “what’s 300 plus 200?” and “what’s 353 minus 274?” Obviously, chances of me getting into the field of astrophysics wasn’t great, but I still tried. Nine months later, I was taking a college-level math class and a physics class. Physics was a struggle; the teaching method didn’t work with my learning style, the math was complicated and the concepts were over my head. During that quarter, I decided that I needed to consider a different career and degree option.
I was then left with no plan, career wise or life wise. Should I just work at the job I have now for the rest of my life? Was I not meant to go to college? What now? Wasn’t I made for something other than clerical work? I just wanted to know what I was meant to do. Eventually, I realized that I was trying to do is what I wanted to do, not what God wanted me to do. That was a pivotal moment. I began to pray. I asked other Christian adults for guidance. I asked friends what they saw me doing. I took multiple personality tests to see what would best correlate with my Myers-Briggs type. Even with a decent amount of the facts about myself, I just wasn’t sure what God wanted me to do. My mind was telling me I should do one thing, but my heart kept saying “no, not that.”
In Fall of 2016, one of my colleagues was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As I’m sure you’re well aware, pancreatic cancer is one of the most fatal cancers out there, with a survival rate of around three months when it is caught at an advanced stage. I remember being sympathetic for her situation, but also curious about the facts behind it. I found myself thinking “do they know how the tumor developed?”, “why can’t scientists find a cure for cancer?”, “what makes cancer cells divide so rapidly?” and “why is pancreatic cancer so deadly?”. My dad had a milder form of cancer when I was a teenager, so I knew a little bit about the disease, such as what chemotherapy was and how it worked to some extent, what cancer was, and so on, and that knowledge acted as a sort of platform to launch me into realization. As I saw my co-worker dwindle away right before my eyes, I realized God might have made me to study cell biology and help with cancer research.
Thus, began my journey into the world of biology. I was able to begin majors-level biology courses at my college in January 2017 and completely fell in love with the subject (ask anyone who hangs out with me, I’ll spurt out random facts about biology all the time. Fun fact; the human heart, if removed from the body, can still beat on its own. Cool, huh?). With this newfound love of the study of life, I began to research universities and degrees, looking for what I felt what type of degree God wanted me to earn.
Currently, I am praying that I will be able to attend University of Washington, Tacoma after I graduate from community college in 2018 to earn my bachelor’s of science in Biomedical Sciences, and from there, attend graduate school for a doctorate in cellular and molecular biology. Since I began this academic odyssey, God has opened more doors for me; I recently discovered the SMART Scholarship for Service Program, which is a full-ride scholarship given by the Department of Defense (yes, you read that right, FULL-RIDE) for people pursuing a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM for short, as well as a summer internship at one of the DoD laboratories and a post-graduation position at one their labs. I’m eligible for it and now I just wait until applications begin in August, then pray I’m accepted! There’s big victories, like that, or smaller victories, like getting an A (and the highest score) on your Calculus for The Life Sciences midterm (yes, I, who tested into the lowest math class got an A on my calculus midterm! Even I can’t believe it!). I'm also not 100% sure that this is what God wants me to do; it feels right, but I have a lot of mental doubts. I'm still doing my best to listen to His voice, but I'm definitely not always in tune to Him.
Regarding my doubts, I think that I won't be able to handle the rigorous coursework that comes with graduate school, if I get in. Acceptance rates of grad school programs are low, so what if I don't get accepted? What if I have to drop out? What if I get buried in debt if I don't receive the SMART scholarship? What if I make it through school, but can't find a job afterward? What if God didn't make me for this at all, and I'm just thinking this is His will? This phase of my life is stressful, if I can be honest. I don't like not having a plan. I don't like 'floating'.
Yet, I know God has something special planned for me. Maybe He did make me to help find the cure for cancer. Maybe he made me to be a doctor. Maybe He made me to be something else entirely. I just know His plan for me is going to be incomprehensibly amazing. I'll just keep reading my Bible, praying, praising Him and listening for Him, so He can lead me down the path He chose for me. I can't wait to see how all this unfolds!
“Blessed is she who would believe that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.” Luke 1:45
“For with God, nothing is impossible.” Luke 1:37
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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