Scientific Journey Part 1 – From Music To Being Told What To Do

I must admit I really like the look on people’s faces when I tell them that I was music major at Duke and had no science major. The questions that come after are as one might expect. How did you do it? Why did you do it? Are you crazy?

This is part one of the story. This will take you to the point of me making the decision that I would pursue science. I don’t yet know how many parts there will be in this series yet as this is the first time I have really chronicled this story on paper.

One more thing you should know before you read this story. I am a God-fearing, church-going Christian. I say this not to scare you away if you aren’t one, but simply so you know where I am coming from. I’m not trying to turn this into a blog on religion, it is still (and will be) very much a science blog. The thing is, my scientific journey is as much testimony as it is anything else so to tell you how I got to where I am, I must be honest about the story. If you think that makes me crazy, at least you will know the passion and belief behind the “crazy.” Additionally, you must know that what I do is ultimately not for me to be greater, but for the Kingdom to be greater.

Okay, here we go. A long one, but worth it I hope.

Entering Duke, I was interested in veterinary medicine. As I began my college journey, I figured that if I was going to do the pre-vet curriculum, I was going to major in something that I knew I liked, music. So that’s what I did, I majored in music but still took science classes to fulfill whatever curriculum the vet school might have needed.

One class was the dreaded weed out course, organic chemistry. Oooohhhh were the stories true. It didn’t go so well and I ended up getting a D. Knowing that wasn’t going to cut it to move on to the next class, I took it again during summer school while working at a Vet hospital. I learned two things that summer; one, getting help in the form of tutoring was very wise because I ended up setting the curve in O-chem 1 & 2, and two, I did NOT want to go to vet school any more. It wasn’t at all what I expected.

Well crap, what now.

Med school, haha nope, music grad school, eh, probably, I could do that. Meanwhile, after learning to love it, I tutored for organic chemistry. I felt that I could help because I knew the pitfalls well after falling in them. Keeping organic chemistry in my life would prove to be important.

Okay, let me fast-forward to one of the most influential weekends on my life. THE WEEKEND. December 13 & 14 2003, yes, I remember the dates (but it also helps that it was right after finals of my first semester senior year). Two things came out of that weekend one, I found out that if I asked for her hand in marriage, my now wife of 9 years (Elisha) would have said yes (I would later propose October 4th 2004), and I found out what I wanted to be, or rather I was TOLD what I wanted to be

Here’s how it went down. That Sunday, I went to church with Elisha and her family. In the middle of praise and worship I heard something. A voice that was not my own and it said “Pharmacology.” Now this was weird is soooo many ways, what was that voice? Was I the only one who heard it? That’s a weird word to say in church.

I don’t know if I actually knew exactly what pharmacology was at the time outside of I thought it meant making drugs (legal ones of course). Well, I learned to enjoy organic chemistry and I wanted to do something medical. Yeah, this seemed like it could work. But for real, who said that. Considering where I was, I could only assume God was trying to set me on a path of what to do with my life. I say it that way instead of God telling me exactly what to do because if God had told me biochemistry (which I sucked at in college) or microbiology (which I sucked at even more in college), I probably wouldn’t have listened. But I was told pharmacology and that at least made a little bit of sense.

The message that day was regarding 2 Kings 4:1-7 about Elisha (the profit) telling the widow to find all the empty vessels she could find and bring them so that they may be filled with oil. The oil would eventually run out when she stopped bringing empty vessels to the spout. In other words, she was being told what to bring to God so that her life could be poured into. And the more she would bring (of one’s self), the more God would pour into that vessel (life).

So God, you want this music major to do science and go to graduate school to get a Ph.D.? All right coach, I’m ready to play, put me in where you need me. I guess if You are telling me to go into science, then You two aren’t enemies?

So what did I do from there? Well, at the very least you know how the story is in the present (because it is far from over), and what my driving force is.

In part 2, I’ll tell how I got from this life changing moment to graduate school.



So I’m standing next to Elisha, listening about a person named Elisha telling someone how to improve their life.  WOW #Elishaception #divinesenseofhumor #oneword


6 responses to “Scientific Journey Part 1 – From Music To Being Told What To Do

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