Hey everyone!!! Once again I apologize for not wri…

Hey everyone!!! Once again I apologize for not writing for so long, but I’ll fill you in on what has happened so far.

So much has happened it is really crazy. I guess I’ll start with how the Lord has visibly worked in my life. If you have read my past entries, you know that I did research at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine this past summer. Now I don’t know whether I told you this but I really didn’t want to do research this past summer. The reason is because I would not see my parents all summer. You see, I had not seen my family all school year, and I was leaving for Africa to do mission work right after school ended. If I decided to go and do research, that meant that I would fly back to school after Africa, be there for 2 days and then fly straight to Cincinnati to spend the rest of my summer, which meant that I wouldn’t see my family all summer. I understood that they were paying me $4,000, but I really wanted to go home.

Well my mother convinced me to go primarily because it would be a great experience and secondly because they were paying me $4,000 dollars. So I did my research on epileptic seizures, got some crazy shadowing experience, got paid and came back to school.

My Biology department decided to have a science symposium, where all their students who did research this summer would present their posters. Really this symposium was practice for the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Dallas, TX. Well as you guys know, I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of research so I wasn’t too excited about it. Well the symposium took place and I presented. I didn’t win any awards out of the 22 of us that presented by I was fine with that, cause research wasn’t really my thing anyway. So this happened in like early October, and the ABRCMS is from November 10-13. Between this time, Dr. Rander, the lady who was trying to organize the trip to Dallas was annoying the CRAP out of me. DoctaJay did you fill out the form?”; DoctaJay, did you submit your abstract online?”; DoctaJay, did you get permission to submit your abstract from your PI?” ; “DoctaJay, have you raised $300 for your registration fee?” My goodness, she really almost drove me to violence ?. All the while, I had so many more important things to deal with like Organic, Microbiology, and Physics tests. Labs, papers, tutoring, bills, etc. One of the worst things about this trip was that I’d be missing a plethora of school (we would be gone from Wednesday and be back on Sunday). That meant that I would be missing all 3 of my Labs, and a test. As you guys can see, I had a whole lot of reasons to just call it quits and not go, especially since research wasn’t my passion. But (now in retrospect) I realize that the Lord truly had a plan, and he didn’t let me make that final decision not to go to Dallas.

So it is 2:00 a.m. in the morning on November the 10th, and 26 students (including me) with 4 chaperones set out in two 15 passenger vans for Dallas, Texas. It is about a 12 hour drive from Huntsville, AL. I had brought my books, and planned to study, but we were just too cramped, and the ride was too long to really study. Even though I knew that I had a microbiology test the day after I got back from that trip, I just didn’t have the time to study. So after much traffic, and much sleep we arrived at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, TX. Most of the other students that were presenting at the conference were actually staying at the Hyatt Regency, but for the same reason why we went down in vans instead of flying, we stayed at our sister institution for basically free (even though it was an hour away from the hotel), because we didn’t have the funds to stay at the Regency.

We arrived around 6 p.m. that night and went straight to the Hyatt to register. They gave us bags, and I just then I started to realize that this thing was actually pretty important. There were thousands of people there from every institution in the US. I really didn’t realize that there were so many minorities that did research. So after registration, we headed back to the school that we were staying at. Since breakfast was at the Hyatt at 7 a.m. and we were staying an hour away, we had to leave at 6 a.m. to get there. The breakfast was good, and then they had some presentations after. I was scheduled to present from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. that day. As it got close to the time I went downstairs where they said the boards were set up and I once again realized how important this conference was. They had a HUMONGOUS room where every graduate and medical school in the country had boards set up. People were already going from booth to booth talking to each school. Not only that, but the NIH had like 5 booths there, and all these other different scientific entities. I had to say that they at least had about 500 exhibitors, and that was just in one of the 3 rooms. I went to the room, where I was presenting my poster and I saw that I was presenting along with about 2,000 other people. So basically we stood by our poster and anyone who wanted would come by and ask us questions, or ask us to take them through our research poster. This is cool, but also it eliminates you realizing who your judges are because all sorts of older people came by and asked me to present to them. I made it though the time, and then I went to the other rooms to hear other people’s poster presentations and visit the booths. I made some great contacts with big schools like Johns Hopkins, University of Miami, University of Maryland, etc. It was so cool, because these schools were actually here to recruit us. They knew that were cream of the crop when it came to minorities. THERE WERE SO MANY FINE GIRLS THERE YOU WOULD NOT BELIEVE IT. Latinos, black girls, asian girls, mixtures of all those (mixtures are the best). My girlfriend was there so I couldn’t gawk too much, but they were beautiful. I was standing by my poster waiting for someone to come and then all of a sudden 4 BEAUTIFUL girls came and asked me to run through my poster. I could hardly concentrate on my research by I got through (whew!!!).

Well, so many wonderful things took place. Ben Carson spoke, other big name scientists spoke, and I made a heck of a lot of contacts with many schools, including Mayo Clinic. So then it came to Saturday night, the night when awards would be given out. There were I think 7 different categories including microbiology, chemistry, developmental biology, neuroscience, etc. Each category gave awards. Neuroscience was the second to last category that was going to be announced so I had to stress all that time. They started going down the categories, some categories awarding 15 awards, while some awarded 10. We had gone through like 4 categories and no Oakwood Student had won anything. It was like the Olympics, each section in the Hyatt Regency ballroom was from a different school and when a person won from their school that whole section would erupt and in applause and cheering. So far, UMBC and the University of Puerto Rico had brought home the most awards. He got down to the Neuroscience category, and I said a short prayer. I would be nice if I won, but really I just wanted an Oakwood student to win so we could cheer and erupt in applause. Now I’m a sophomore, so that is what I was listening for. It just so happened that the Neuroscience category was only awarding 6 awards, the lowest award number out of all the categories. Now mind you, there are like 2,800 students there, so they really did narrow the pool of winners. But never the less, I was nervous because they were only choosing 6 people for neuroscience. So the announcer began to announce the 1st winner. He said, “The first winner is a soph…”. As soon as he said sophomore, my heart jumped, but then we finished ,”from the University of Tennessee”. It was nice for me to think that I would get an award, but probably slightly naive. I mean, I didn’t even like research, so that probably showed in my presentation. The announcer began to speak again “The second winner is a sophomore”. I didn’t get excited because my hopes had already been shattered with the first one. But then we continued, “ A sophomore, from Oakwood”, and before he could say “College” my whole section burst into applause and cheering. I honestly could not believe it, I just couldn’t believe that I was choosen in one of the most competitive fields, for an award in a category that hardly awarded anybody. As I thought somemore, I realized that it could only be because God wanted me to win, and he wanted to exalt Oakwood College’s name through my award. I went up on stage, and accepted my award still awestruck by what was taking place.

That really just made my whole trip worthwhile. What didn’t make it worthwhile was that I was getting way too much attention, and I’m way too shy to handle that kind of attention. When I got back, everyone on campus was high fiving me and congratulating me like I had make the game winning touchdown or something. Either way, no matter how I looked at it, the Lord truly blessed me ,and it was only through Him that I won. It turns out that I was the only Oakwood student that won an award (so I guess that crappy science symposium didn’t matter much!). My school has a general assembly every Tuesday, and my name was announced and I was asked to come up front, while the crowd gave me an standing ovation. I’m only telling this because my girlfriend told me that is what happened. I was still sleeping in my bed at the time (I guess I picked the wrong assembly to skip!!!).

Anyway, so here I am now. I received $250 from the award and bragging rights. When I got back to school, although people were congratulating me, school continued (like I thought it would stop) and I still had to study for that Microbiology test. Since it was 14 hours until the test started, and I hadn’t even looked at the book, I knew it would be crazy. So I didn’t sleep; I stayed up all night studying for the test (Do NOT do this). It’s only by God’s grace that my body handled that. I took the test, and got through the rest of the day. I went through the regular drudgery of classes and then Thanksgiving break came.

Most people I knew went home, but I didn’t. I went with NAPS to Atlanta. As you all know, the National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS), is the mission group on campus that I went to Africa with. Well, since we are a religiously affiliated group, the government can’t fund our trips. So we go to different cities during our breaks, make presentations, and canvassing for money. This is the only way that we raise the almost $200,000 amount for our trips. A lot of people think we are crazy because we give up our holiday breaks to do this, but if you’ve been to Africa, you would realize that everything penny is worth it. So we, NAPS, went to Atlanta, and the weather just wasn’t nice. We did presentations at different churches, and tried to do some canvassing during the week, but the rain was keeping us away. So we did other stuff like visit juvenile detention centers and homeless shelters. The most wonderful thing happened to me when we went to the Atlanta Union Mission which is a homeless shelter for kids. Now mind you, me and kids don’t mix well, because they annoy me, so I was a little hesitant of going. But the Lord obviously wanted to go, because I ended up inside. At first I was playing for four little 4 yr. olds, and then a little boy by the name of Josh was rolled in. As soon, as I saw him, I knew something was wrong. His stroller was different. One of the ladies that worked there, told me that Josh had cerebral palsy. He couldn’t hold his head up, stand by himself, or focus and play with parts of the toys. They gave him to me, and I started playing with him. I was so surprised because I honestly thought that I would feel uncomfortable working with a child that had a disorder, but it was great. We played with a lot of different toys, and then it was snack time. So everyone got oranges. All the others kids we able to feed themselves, but Josh needed help So I feed him, breaking the orange into little pieces and playing with him, pretending that the orange slice was a airplane and his mouth was the hanger. We were having so much fun, but it was time for NAPS to leave so we could go help with the Hosea Williams Feed the Hungry program. I finished feeding him, the oranges, and he smiled. That brought the warmest feeling I’ve ever had in my heart. Then when we realized that I was leaving, he mustered enough strength to say “Come back, soon”, “Please don’t leave”. Now I’m really not a sentimental guy, but I almost cried. So see that I had made such a difference in that kids life in, such a short time made me realize that helping people is what I want to do fro the rest of my life, and being a doctor is the career choice for me.

All in all, my Thanksgiving break was a blast. And now I’m back at school, studying by BUTT off for the upcoming finals next week. I just had an organic chemistry test today that was very different and freaking hard (he let us use our books, something that has never been done in his whole teaching history which is like 20 years). When he told we could use our books about 4 min. into the test, everyone screamed with happiness, and then about 10 min. later, no one said much. The book turned out to be more of a hindrance than a blessing. The test was on thiols, alkynes, and alcohols, which aren’t hard subjects in it of themselves, but whenever it comes to a test, he ALWAYS come from left field with his questions. So yeah, the book didn’t’ help me much at all, and I finished the test with a wrinkle in my forehead. But you know what, I’m not mad. By now, I truly believe that the Lord wants me to be a doctor, so I’m not going to let a test ruin my day, I’m going to praise the Lord for giving me life in order to take a freakin test, and just go on with my day. I don’t plan on doing anything else tonight besides playing Final Fantasy X on my PS2 and writing this long, late diary entry. I really hope I told you all everything. If not, I’ll make it up later. PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way, I created a website for my premed club and I want you guys to tell me what you think of it. I want to you especially go to the Internships page, and utilize it. It has more than 3,000 summer internships there for you to apply to, so check it out,a nd give me some honest feed back. Here is the URL:

http://www.oakwood.edu/biology/subsite01/

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