Capstone Essay

My room is mostly finished! Minus some wall art and some diploma[(s) now!] that I haven’t hung up.

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It’s much more subdued, neutral, and calming now, which will be good for medical school in 2 months, 8 days! My favorite part has to be the window area which I added twinkle lights to at the last minute.

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Anyway, my final for my capstone class was to write a reflective essay looking back into our science education. I ended up really liking mine. So, here it is if you want to see how I got through OBU science. I wish I had gone more into my calling to medicine and how I knew all the suffering would be worth it, but I focused mainly on the science instead.

“Some would see my choice to attend a Baptist university as a way to limit my education, my world, and my views, but in fact the opposite has proven true. The last four years have opened my mind to knowledge I did not know I could have, questions I could not fathom, and wonder I didn’t know was possible. Personally, I have grown. My general education classes have taught me a great deal, but it is science where I have learned the most. I think a good objective definition of science is that it is the body of knowledge we have about the natural world through systematic experiments and observation. Science is how the world works. However, being a student of science has taught me so much more than that. For one thing, I’ve learned how vast the world is, and how small I am. Being a science student has strengthened my faith and allowed me to question things about my faith that I had never considered. Four years ago, I blindly accepted my faith in God and blindly accepted the science I was taught as well. Now, I question both, and am able to find the answers; answers that I can flesh out and struggle with and understand better in the end. I am also okay with not knowing the answer, which is something that I do not know I could say as a freshman. Science has become a big part of my belief system and a part of finding my purpose in the world. In order for me to be a part of science, I have to rely on the assumption that science is making the world a better place overall. I want to be a part of the kind of science that does good for people. My favorite lessons in science are the ones that have left me speechless and astounded in awe of my Creator. Some other favorites include those that I have learned from listening to my classmates’ views and opinions.

The biology program at OBU broke me down mentally. I switched my major from undeclared to biology after I had already begun as a freshman. I was only in the department for three years, but it has been grueling. I remember driving home one school night as a sophomore because I couldn’t take it anymore. I was done studying. I considered dropping out or transferring. My friends from freshman year have had nowhere near the workload I have. I spent hours and hours sitting down studying by myself. I hate sitting down, and I would much rather be with other people. Looking back, it was nothing more than a hard adjustment, because the payoff has been so much more than worth it. Then, again in my junior year- I was taking physics and organic with the sophomores- I hit another wall, hard. The workload is ridiculous and my grades were not showing the fruits of my labor. I was flailing. I wanted to quit again, but I relied on what I knew I had already made it through. Though sometimes I hated science, it helped me realize my potential and to continue to face adversity, knowing I could handle it. After I turned in my Organic 2 final, I cried in Dr. Malmberg’s office asking him why he had to make it so hard, and why I studied and studied but my grade was so low. He put it simply.

“So that you realize your dependence on God.”

I am extremely aware of my dependence on God because of science. But I also know now that when I resolve to do something, I can do my best no matter how much it will take out of me.

As a runner, the worst part for me is right before a race, at the starting line. I know what I have to do to hit a personal record, and I am aware that I am going to hurt. My legs will beg me to stop; my lungs will feel like they’re going to burst. I get afraid that I won’t be able to make it and I slow down. Every time. Now, headed into medical school, I am at the starting line of a whole new, rigorous program. Just like if I were running, I should be scared. I should be bracing myself for the “hurt”, but unlike in running, I know that I can make it through. The science program broke me down, but it has built me back up stronger than I was before.

I had never explored science and faith together before my four years here. The two remain separate and non-conflicting. Science is what is physical and natural. God is metaphysical and real but not able to be proven by the methods of science. Still, in my mind, the two feed into each other. My relationship with God is fed by the awe I experience when I learn. The intricacies of cell biology and genetics have changed my life. The volume of activity occurring at the microscopic, even molecular level continually blows me away. It’s so orderly. The amount of things you can learn about one infinitesimally small process in a cell, is completely mind-boggling.

Science’s role in society has become evident to me mostly in this past year. I have realized through capstone, being accepted into medical school and our non-textbook readings in developmental biology, that my science education has a lot of implications for the world around me. One of my favorite memories is a vaccine discussion we had in capstone. As a class, we examined our views from the perceptions of the opposing views, or the views of a layperson, who does not necessarily understand the hard, scientific literature we cite for our own opinions as scientists. I could discuss things like that all day long. I love challenging and discussing ethics, arguments, and science. I am excited to use my unique point of view and scientific education to better understand the people around me and especially what they believe and why. In developmental this past semester, we also spoke about the importance of popular science and writing. The Annie Dillard and Scientific American readings have inspired me to use my writing voice in science somehow. Of course, I also hope my medical education and further scientific endeavors will have some impact on society, even if just within a community.

These four years have taught me so much in terms of sheer knowledge- objective fact. I would be proud of my degree if that was all I had obtained during this time in my life. Perhaps, more than that, I am proud of what has happened to me on this journey. I share a bond with my fellow science students because of what we know we have all lived through. I have had my mind opened wide and want to fill it with all that I can. I am stronger, more assertive, and more sure of myself. I am a scientist now. It is a title, I did not know I wanted. But, I smile every time Dr. Jett refers to my classmates and I as scientists. I will always cherish my time at OBU and forever consider myself a student of science.”

1 Comment

  1. The room looks great! Very calm and peaceful. 🙂

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