As part of studying medicine, about a quarter of the year group after third year are given the opportunity to take a year out to complete a science degree in a year — a so-called intercalated degree. After scraping through first and second year exams, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that this wasn’t going to be an option for me and, to be honest, the idea of an extra year of uni wasn’t very attractive to me anyway.
After doing surprisingly well in exams in third year medicine, intercalating suddenly became a possibility. Having not really enjoyed hospital placements and with some of my closest friends keen to intercalate, I decided it was worth applying just to see if I could get in and then decide from there, trusting that God would open that door if this was something He would like me to pursue.
To my surprise, I was offered one of the places and then came time to rank courses. We were asked to choose our top three from a menu of around fifteen courses. The specialism I had been most interested in throughout my time at medical school was neurology, the study of the brain and nervous system, so the neuroscience course went down quickly as my first choice. I put my second choice as psychological medicine (mental health) really only because it mentioned something about neurology in the description, and inflammation medicine went down third as the best of the rest of a fairly awful looking bunch.
With my heart now pretty firmly set on a year away from medical school, I prayed hard that I would get into the neuroscience course. The capacity for each course was around six people, and knowing that I was nowhere near the top in terms of exam results, my faith was pretty low in terms of getting into my first choice. However, God had already exceeded my expectations by getting me into the running in the first place, so I thought maybe there was a chance that He would align the circumstances that I could get into this neuroscience course too.
I didn’t get in, I got my second choice of Psych Med instead and I am so glad for that. God knew that I would find it so much more interesting. He knew the friends that I would make through this course and that because there were only three other people in my classes, that I would develop the confidence to speak out and ask questions in class; something I find impossible to do in a lecture of 400 or standing in the corner of a hospital ward. He also knew the staff on that course who would be there to support me, especially my course lead who would take hours to help me with my project and helped me find the right support when I struggled with my health between February and the end of the year. God opened my eyes to a specialty I didn’t even know I would be passionate about, and that if I choose to work as a doctor, I could see myself pursuing.
Taking some time away from medicine also gave me some more free time to be able to do Remain this year. I’m so grateful to God that He aligned these two things to allow me to grow in ways I didn’t even expect. We were encouraged one time in Remain to think about what we love about God and one thing that has always really stuck out to me is that God is so much cleverer than I am, that He is and has always been completely in control. I was talking to a friend recently about how thankful I am that I don’t control my own life, because I would muck it up. This story of answered prayer continues to encourage me not to cling hard to every step of what I think is the ‘perfect plan’, because I know, and have seen through this situation, that God’s plan is so much better. Praise God that He is in control, and that we can surrender what’s next to Him.
Re:Hope West End
Are you open to God surprising you with how He answers your main prayer for these 40 days? Surrender control of the outcome to Him today and thank Him in advance that His ways are better than our plans!