I had spent the last three months preparing for the MCAT and took the actual exam a few weeks ago. What a journey! Throughout the preparation, I experienced things I had never expected to experience through the MCAT, both good and not so good. But looking back at it now, I am thankful for every part of it, because it helped me to see that not all things in life are under my control, and it helped me to depend on God much more than ever before.
These last few months were perhaps the most difficult and frustrating time of my life yet, and, in turn, it greatly humbled me. By no means did I think that I would conquer the MCAT. But perhaps I did underestimate the level of persistence and patience it would take to consistently study for three months. Towards the end of this process, I did encounter a number of burnouts, during which I was overwhelmed with self-doubt and deprived of self-confidence. I fought daily to keep my focus. I saw my scores dropping. I woke up dreading the thought of going back to the library again. I lost the motivation to go on, and hope was nowhere to be found. That’s when I reached for help.
I got back home one day, feeling defeated. I went into my room, closed the door behind me, and tears just came running down my face. Why can’t I be smarter? Why can’t I just suck it up and push through? Why am I so weak? Is medical school even a possibility for me? Oh, I’m not smart enough. I’m not strong enough. I can’t do it. I’m hopeless.
Then, a thought came into my mind saying, ‘God does not give you more than you can handle.’
At first, I thought, “He must think I am strong. His expectations are way too high. I can’t do this.”
But as I cried in my room in silence, I saw a glimpse of hope. Maybe I do have the potential to do this. Not by my own strength, but by His. Maybe this is what He wanted me to see all along. He wanted me to see that I have to depend on Him to do things that I cannot do alone. Although I cannot do this on my own, in His name, I can do all things.
My scores did not just shoot back up the next day. I had to work harder than ever to keep fighting. But by praying before starting my day, by seeking His help throughout the day, and by giving thanks to Him before going to bed, I found hope and the will to go on. When I was doing practice tests, I prayed that God will provide the strength to give it my all into each section. I prayed that God would be right by my side throughout the test.
He was truly my only hope, and I could not have gone on if He hadn’t given me the strength. When I couldn’t believe in myself, God showed His faith in me. I cannot imagine how I would have survived through the three months if He hadn’t pulled me out of the darkness. He assured me that He would be right there with me, and that gave me solace.
He was with me on test day. I did my best to prepare for the past three months, and I knew that it was all in God’s hands now. He was in control. His will be done. I arrived at the testing site an hour and a half before, prayed that no matter what I see on the test, I would keep calm and use the accumulated knowledge to find the solutions. He consoled me and reassured me that I was not alone and that I had nothing to be afraid of.
I asked for His guidance before starting each section. And after each section, I did not think about how well or badly the last section went, and I only focused on the next section. I kept my mind off of how much time and effort I had invested in preparing for this very moment. Rationally speaking, those thoughts would only distract me from focusing on the test.
Before I knew it, four hours had passed, and it was over.
The moment the window popped up saying time was up, I saw flashbacks of the days and nights I had spent studying, times I have cried in my bed, times I was on the verge of giving up, and times I had so desperately sought for God’s help. I did have doubts. I did have some regrets. Did I really put in my all? Was this really my best effort? Could I have done something differently to make my studying more efficient?
At the moment, these thoughts were frightening and discouraging. But I eventually realized that what is passed is passed, and there is nothing I can do about it. And I remembered that before I took this exam, I promised God that I would trust in Him and His will.
I am still waiting to receive my score, and discouraging and doubtful thoughts still come every once in a while. But every time those thoughts come, I pray to God. I know that I am in good hands, and I know that I did all I could. The result is now in God’s hands.
Even if I don’t get the score I am hoping for, I already gained something much more significant: my renewed relationship with God and my ever-growing faith.
Thank you, Lord.