Monday, October 31, 2011

To Dream the Impossible Dream -or- Watch Me Work

If ever someone was born and called to be a pharmacist, it's my daughter, Jessica. By the time she was five years old, that was all she was going to be when she grew up. She never dreamed of being a doctor, lawyer, cop, fire-woman, teacher, nurse, or every "-ologist" known to man like I had done. Nope! She set her sights early on being a pharmacist.

It's a mutant gene in the Taylor family. Her great-great uncle Leroy graduated from UNC Pharmacy School, as did her Granddaddy Jim, her Daddy Mitch, and her Uncle Stacey. My Daddy George graduated from UNC Dental School. UNC was in her family tree, pharmacy was in her DNA, and the two combined were her destiny. Life sailed along relatively smooth for her. She had anoles and an iguana as a child so she could study the "effect of vitamins" on them. She worked at the family drug store. She was very responsible and level-headed, with her head in Carolina Blue clouds. She never paid attention when Campbell University opened the second Pharmacy School in NC in 1986. She was only 5, so who cared? They were not UNC. The dream lived on.

She went to local Chowan, then College, now University, and took her pre-pharmacy courses with every intention of getting all that done in two years so she could move onto UNC for four years of Pharmacy. She took the PCAT both years, even as a freshman and did well!

She stayed on track and applied to UNC Pharmacy, as planned, and practically had her bags packed. Pharmacy School has a limited number of openings so I urged her to also apply to Campbell. My advice went unheeded. She received notice that she would not be filling one of UNC's seats and that she was number 9 on the waiting list. Wait she did! When it became obvious that 2002 wasn't going to be her year, she made plans and went back to Chowan for a third year. Because she had been number 9 on the waiting list, she just knew in her heart of hearts that she'd be one of the first accepted when she applied the next year. She was determined 2003 was going to be her year to begin Pharmacy School.

So, when it was time, she applied to UNC. Not to Campbell as well. The only time she ever gave Campbell a thought was to tell me "no" when I urged her to apply. They both had a limited number of open seats, if one didn't accept her, maybe the other would: that was my reasoning. Her reasoning for not listening to me was "They aren't UNC."

She applied for early acceptance. I remember checking the mail that Wednesday morning in March 2003. She was at home when I returned from the post office. I handed her the letter from UNC. Her excitement turned to sheer disbelief, anger, and tears when she read she had been waiting listed again...this time in the double digits...in the 40s!

It was 10:30 am and she grabbed that letter and rushed out the door. She was going to Chowan to see her advisor. Bonnie had connections! Bonnie would know what to do about this outrage! Bonnie had no clue Jessica was on her way!

I breathed a quiet, "Help her Lord." and I very distinctly heard God say, "Watch me work." That was it. Watch me work.

When Jessica returned home she said Bonnie would see what she could do. She had meetings that afternoon but when she got a chance, she'd make some calls and get back in touch with Jessica later that evening. She had a meeting that wasn't on her agenda. It was on God's though.

Bonnie called back at 6 pm that evening. Remember, this was Wednesday and ALL applications for ALL pharmacy schools had been due early February. ALL deadlines were well past.

Around one o'clock that afternoon, she was in her office meeting with two advisees, her office door was open when she heard a woman's voice across the hall. She was there to see Dr. So-and So and she was from the Campbell School of Pharmacy Admissions Office. She needed directions to the Dr.'s office.

Bonnie stuck her head out of her door and asked the woman if she had heard her correctly. She had! Bonnie asked her if she had time to meet with her about a student. She did! Bonnie's advisees willingly postponed their meeting and Bonnie and this woman from Campbell School of Pharmacy Admissions Office spent an hour going over Jessica's file!

It turned out this woman was on the Admissions Committee for the Pharmacy School and they had one more meeting that coming Friday and five seats left to fill. If Jessica could get all her admissions materials together and in her office by Friday morning when they met, they'd consider her. They would accept faxes of all transcripts with the understanding that originals were in the mail.

It wasn't her dream. Up until then her dream was UNC and pharmacist. They went together. The question became: is it more important to go to UNC or more important to be a pharmacist. I guess you know how she answered.

She hauled boogie the rest of Wednesday evening and all day Thursday getting her material together and faxed. When that committee met Friday morning all her info was there.

Monday she was called and told she was one of the five admitted!

She never looked back. She embraced Campbell with a bear hug! She entered the Class 0f 2007 in August of 2003.

To live her ultimate dream, she had to let go of another. And you know what? It turned out to be the best move for her! UNC, while a great school, would have swallowed her whole. Campbell was a perfect fit. God knew it all along and when she wouldn't listen, God made a way. All we had to do was watch Him work.

It can be painful to relinquish a dream. It can seem stupid and like the worse move possible. But God does know what's best for us.

Oh, when she graduated, she already had a great job lined up. Other dreams of hers have fallen into place and I think she learned a thing or two about God in the process. Me, too.

And I am grateful.