I got into dental school.
Updated: Dec 15, 2017
I decided to become a dentist when I was 16.
I have just moved to the United States couple of years ago from Korea, and things were happening way too fast.
I only had a year and a half of middle school, then it was straight to four years of high school where every grade counted towards college.
I liked biology and music, but not much math. Actually I despised math.
I ended up with a C in AP calc and D in physics.
(So you know how miserable I was both academically and mentally)
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or what I was good at.
Most kids in my school who were born here seemed to figured it out already.
Their parents knew how to help and guide them through this whole journey of college and future itself.
My parents had no idea.
My dad was a pastor and my mom worked as a voice actress until she met my dad.
They decided to bring me and my lil sis to the US for my dad’s ministry and had zero percent idea how the education system worked here.
I was on my own to decide what I wanted to be and where I should start.
But later on I realized that I was not totally on my own after all.
Although I wasn’t able to see it, God was with me in every step of the way.
For some reason God gave my mom the heart to ask if I ever thought of becoming a dentist.
It was totally out of the blue.
I always thought going into medicine or dentistry was only for certain groups of people who had all A’s.
I laughed and told her there will be no school in this country at least with a right set of mind that will accept a dummy like me.
Few months passed and summer vacation after junior year came.
As same old, I was planning on babysitting to make some money.
But God had a different plan.
A local dentist was opening her own practice and she was looking to hire few people to work at a front desk.
My mom who heard about this news asked the dentist whether it will be okay if I can come by to work as a part time and also shadow.
After getting her approval a week after, I was at a dentist office working and shadowing surgeries and regular check ups.
I held suction pipes, surgical tools, various pastes and even a tooth!
The dentist I worked for allowed me to explore the field of dentistry at a front row seat. It was a hands on and minds on experience.
The summer that started with doubts and boredom has actually ended with setting a fire of passion inside my heart.
I loved every minute I spent at the office seeing how much hand work had to be involved into treating patients and how much of a transformation can such work can bring into people’s lives. It was priceless.
I finally fell in love with a career that actually got me working.
However because my family was not prepared to send me to a college financially, I chose to attend a local community college for the first two years after high school.
To be honest it was tough.
I had to work full time to pay off my tuition while maintaining a full time student status in order to graduate on time.
Most pre requisite courses such as biology, chemistry, and math were the vain of my existence.
It gave me countless opportunities to just give up.
However with girth and determination, and with God’s love, I was able to maintain 4.0 GPA for all semesters at my community college and move on to my dream university to finish off the bachelor degree in Biology.
It required tons of note taking, visits to professors’ office hours, teamwork, tears, and prayer.
I thought everything would be okay once I complete my degree.
But then, there was DAT (Dental Admissions Test).
Duh duh duh.
I was not a good test taker. (I cannot emphasize this enough)
While lecture exams were doable, big scale exams as SAT always got me more nervous than it should that at the end, I performed more horribly than anyone's expectation.
I had nightmares of getting less than the average score of 19 every night since I started studying for it.
I had panic attacks at least once a day.
All of this negative thoughts about the exam resulted in my pushing back the exam dates four times. I had to take a gap year in order to take the exam after I graduated from college.
I knew this was my last chance. I just couldn’t move back my exam date AGAIN.
Right before my graduation, my pastor Louie Giglio, at Passion City Church started a new sermon series called Goliath must Fall.
He also wrote a book with the same title, and I decided to pick it up at the church bookstore.
When I first heard the title of the new series, I felt as if God was telling me to stop everything and just listen to what he had to say.
Pastor Louie started his message with this sentence:
“There are still giants in the land as anxiety, fear, and addiction”
Fear was my giant. I said with my inner voice.
Then he continued,
“God wants us to know that we can live free from whatever is fearing us and knocking us down. We can be free through God. Whatever is holding our feet. Even people in Christ had to fight the battle. After crushing down the Jericho wall to enter the promised land, there was another wall, another giant to fight but those fights were opportunities for God to come.”
So what he is saying is…fear exists to bring me down, yet it is also a chance for God to come to my rescue and show his existence in my life. Wow.
In the midst of my thoughts, Pastor Louie broke the bad news.
“Sorry to break it to you folks. But in the story of David and Goliath, you are not David.”
What is he trying to say? I thought.
“We are not David who needs to fight off the giant in a battle with stones and slingshot. It is Jesus who is our giant slayer. Jesus is David, not you. God is fighting our battle and all we have to do is rejoice and give God the glory that he deserves.”
It was that day and sermon that made possible for me to finally realize my sin.
I was putting myself as David in every journey I went through.
I thought I picked up those stones and it was I who threw it to kill the giant, while it was God all along.
It was not me who got to transfer to an amazing school, but it was God who gave me the knowledge and patience to go accomplish something great.
It was not me who first decided to go into dentistry, but it was God who placed my mom and mentor in my life to open my eyes to a bigger world outside of my room.
And it will not be me who will go through the DAT, but it will be God who will prepare me to succeed and conquer the fear of failing.
When I threw away self-importance, that’s when I finally got the courage to take the DAT.
The thing is, I was prepared way before to take the exam but I first had to realize that my Goliath called ‘fear’ was already dead, laying in front of me, lifeless.
All I had to do was to step over its dead body, and move forward from it.
Last week, I got a call from one of my top dental school choice with an offer to their program.
And in a weird way, I was not too surprised. I was not frantically crying, (which I always pictured to do in the past) nor was I jumping up and down in the middle of the grocery store where I first got the call.
Because I heard God telling me deep inside of my heart, “I told you so.”
I will be starting my dental school journey in 2018, and there will be more stories to share right here. (can’t wait!!)
It will not be easy. I know.
But one thing that I will hold onto is this:
our journey is real, but our God is bigger.
So whatever we will face today and tomorrow and the day after, let’s simply remember that it is Christ who has the power to break every chain and he has and he will destroy our enemies.
You (enemy) will come back to me with sword but I will come back to you with the name of Lord almighty. This day Lord will hand you over to me. And the whole world will know that there is God in Israel.
1 Samuel 17:45