It’s 7:05 am in the morning and you realize that you had set your alarm for 6am. So you throw the comfy covers off, jump out of bed, dive into the shower, and land in your garage by 7:17am; new record! As you get ready to turn the key and start the car, you notice the raised, red, semaphore flag on your mailbox. Usually you would wait until you came back from work to check the mail – but today felt different. You knew there was something particularly strange about the way that flag stood. So you hope out of the car, walk toward the mailbox, and slowly pull down the opening into that mailbox. After looking at the return address you realize that never have you received a letter from this part of the world. Few people do.
You take a moment to stare at this letter that has been carefully flown across the Atlantic Ocean that it may land in your hands. Excitedly, you rip through the envelope to discover its contents. I mean, it’s not everyday you receive a letter from the Buckingham palace.
“Dear [insert name here]
We would like to cordially invite you to the Prince’s wedding and humbly request that you bake a cake for the occasion. We will need to have the cake by May 31. Thank you in advance for your willingness to assist us in this monumental event.
This would be a good representation of how I felt as I prepared for the MCAT. Somehow I had to master material in a way I’d never imagined so that I’d be able to execute and deliver when the date arrived. Naturally, cortisol and norepinephrine seared through my plasma at the thought. However I remembered that God is a finisher. When He decides to do something He sees to its completion. And this would be no different. Thankfully my parasympathetic fibers started firing . So I got the mixing bowl out and got to work.
I decided to work through the material by subject. Some choose to set a certain amount of time to study each day. I knew myself enough to know that I’d have a difficult time studying with this strategy; I get too easily distracted. So I decided that I’d determine what chapters I’d like to study in that particular day and didn’t stop until I had completed going over the material. This way, even though I might’ve gotten distracted at 4:30pm, I still came back at 7pm to study till I finished covering the material.
I planned to take AAMC practice tests at least once a week. After I took the second one I realized that I had a particular weakness with verbal reasoning. So I bench lifted the hefty “101 passages” book from Examkrackers, let it fall on the table with a booming thud, then got to work. My plan was to do 1 full, hour-long verbal test each day and I increased it to two full verbal tests within 2 weeks of test day.
To my dismay the plan didn’t seem to work. Although my science scores were improving, my verbal score seemed to stubbornly stick on the descending escalator. I felt like I had ran out of sugar for the cake and the date was rapidly approaching. After a few more pushes, with no significant results, I got on my knees and surrendered. This felt like the thorn in the flesh Paul was talking about in second Corinthians. So, like him, I decided to “glory in my infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest on me.”
T – 17 hours to the test and I was in the car on my way down to Birmingham, AL. We were spending the night at my uncle’s place before the test. I went to sleep early and had a terribly hard time sleeping. It was like the brakes to my brain just gave out. I guess I must’ve driven off the road or something because all I remember was waking up the next day. My test was at 1pm and I had woken up at 7am. Those 6 hours felt like a year and a half. To calm down I sat and had devotion. I was reading from Max Lucado. The devotion was unnaturally fitting for that day. Max was describing an instance with her five year-old daughter. She was hopping up and down on the bed telling her father to move further and further away from the bed. When Max felt like he was “across the grand canyon” she was satisfied. Then she took off into the air.
This is exactly what I had to do – jump. As I tasted my not-as-sweet-as-I-would-like cake I had to believe that God would do something with it. He’s already done so many things in the past, all so that He could show me the mountain-range sized veins protruding from his biceps. Why should I be afraid? Why should I doubt His lovingkindness? Why should I lose faith in His mighty power to save?
So I jumped.