Alex Paulison

Bologna, Italy

Bye, Bye, Med School

C is for Chemistry

No more medical school. No big salary. No purpose.

I sat in front of my computer looking with disbelief at my final grade for Chemistry – a C. That was not the worst grade I could get but it all but guaranteed I would not be accepted to medical school.

I was only a second year student and I had already ruined my future, I thought. I chose to study Biology because I wanted to learn about the world around me, the world God created, but that would not get me a job, I realized. I internally debated if I would rather be a physician, a physician’s assistant, or a physical therapist. All of these jobs would pay well but I did not really want to do any of them. But after this grade I couldn’t do any of them.

School was always easy for me but now in Chemistry I just could not succeed. I was quickly realizing that my hardest efforts were not enough, and that was difficult to accept. Who wants to accept that they just are not good enough for something? The American Dream formed me to think that if I just worked hard enough I could be anything I wanted. That was not true anymore. My purpose in college had been to succeed to get a good job, but now that was over, so what was my purpose?

My faith in God had always been in my back pocket, ready to be used in a time of need, but it had been neglected and replaced with school. I had God in my pocket but my books in my hands. I had given my life to school and I failed it. But I failed to give my life to God and had already failed Him. Was my purpose in the wrong thing? Did God deserve my leftover devotion or something more?

What’s the Purpose?

Desperate and hopeless I turned to the only thing I could think of – the Bible. I opened and found Jesus’ words in Matthew “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

I needed something different, because what I was doing was not working. I exchanged my soul for school. I tried to save my life but I ended up losing it. From then on my purpose was going to be living for God, and not school or myself. I found my purpose in Jesus and the grace he offered and that freed me from my failures. My purpose was to follow Him.

I had a new outlook on university. I was not there to succeed and get a good job but there to help others know God and find their purpose in life. I was a new person. I worked hard in class to learn about His creation, not to get a good job. I shared my new purpose with my friends and was amazed to see others trust Him, like I had. I no longer needed a good job to make a lot of money, but instead I wanted a job where I could help others know God. 

My purpose had been found. Chemistry lead me to God.

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