He opened doors no one could close!
June 5, 2018
1. Thank you for joining Farfromacurse to share your testimony. Please introduce yourself to the viewers and readers and let them know who you are and why you’re joining #TestimonyTuesday :)
My name is Jiji and I’m from Columbus, GA. I’m here to talk about my journey through my academic career and where I’m at today.
2. Give the readers/viewers top three interesting facts about you.
a. I really like Sushi! I love sushi cakes, sushi burritos, sushi tacos, poke bowls, sushi pizza, sushi pasta...etc. I just like sushi!
b. I’m a very competitive individual and I actually hate losing. I can be a very poor sport sometimes, so if you’re really not about wining then you can’t be on my team.
c. When I was in undergrad, I evacuated 940+ girls from my dorm after I was heating a cinnamon roll too long in the microwave. This set the fire alarms off and I almost caught the building on fire. During my first year, I was known as the cinnamon roll girl for about a month or two. It was great! :)
3. Okay, so “cinnabon” girl, what school did you attend and how was your undergrad experience?
I went to University of Georgia (UGA) and my undergrad experience was great! The initial transition was hard going from high school to living in a college town but I still transitioned well. I made new friends and gained new experiences. I ran track my first year and pledged Delta Sigma Theta, Spring 13. It was an overall great experience!
4. So what made you chose Physical Therapy?
So, I initially started as a pre-med major and when I took chemistry it was super hard. I talked to my advisor and asked which majors didn’t have O-Chem (Organic Chemistry) classes, she dissected my background, and interests, then gave me a list of possible majors. That’s how we came up with Athletic Training and that’s how I came up with Physical Therapy. I later added Exercise Science because both majors had similar courses so I took both of them. I ended up staying an extra year at school because of the transition between changing majors and both programs were 2 years long.
5. How was the application process for the DPT program?
I went to my advisor and talked to her about what I was going to do and I told her the list of graduate schools I was going to apply to for physical therapy school. She told me to take a year off because I didn’t meet the criteria. She said I needed to get more experience because PT school was very competitive. She didn’t think I met the requirements to apply. However, everyone has his or her opinion and I feel like listening to everyone would be cutting yourself short. Therefore, I carried on with my plans. Emory actually was not my first choice. I applied to all of the schools that were far away because I didn’t want to stay in state. My mom told me that I needed to apply to at least one school in state. I told her that I didn’t want to but she insisted that I needed to. That’s the reason I applied to Emory.
Soon I started receiving denial letters from the other out of state schools I applied to and felt like my advisor might have been right. I started thinking, “Maybe I’m not qualified.” This caused me to search for Athletic Trainer Certified (ATC) jobs because you can work right out of undergrad with that certification. During this time, I ended up getting an interview with Emory and I thought it was horrible, so I continued to look for jobs. One day I was working as an ATC for a swim team and I was setting one of the swimmers up with some ice. All of a sudden, I got a message on my phone and all I saw was “congratulations!” I dropped the ice, ran out of the room into the area between the wall and vending machine, and cried. I called my parents and told them that I got into Emory. That was my journey into Physical Therapy school.
6. So, you applied to multiple schools and only got into Emory? Or did you get into other schools?
I only got into Emory and I wasn’t even going to apply.
7. Isn’t Emory one of the top five schools in the nation for Physical Therapy?
8. How was PT school? Did you ever have a time where you felt like you had it all together? (She’s always traveling according to her ig stories lol)
Sometimes I felt like I had it together and other times I knew I didn’t have it together. I spent many sleepless nights crying. I spent a lot of days making up stuff I missed and failing exams. This type of stuff happens in school and I feel like it comes with the territory. You have to be okay with not being perfect because things will happen. I didn’t have it all together 99% of the time but I made it look like it on the outside.
9. Describe your feelings in the last month of PT school right before graduation.
A lot was going on in the last month. I had a huge research project, a board exam, and a lot of work was piling on top of me. This is where I started to develop the intense anxiety. Things went downhill after I took my boards because of the entire waiting period of, “how did I do?” I walked out of that test thinking, “I failed miserably!” I developed a negative thinking pattern by concentrating on awful questions such as “what if I failed?” and “what will this mean for my future?” I even thought about possibly studying for the test again. I actually have PTSD from studying for that exam. I really thought I was going to have to go through it all over again.
Nevertheless, I had a great support team. I remember talking to my sister once and she gave me an acronym I never heard before. She told me fear stood for false evidence appearing real. It really stood out to me how I was creating scenarios that weren’t there. Then there was a post on Farfromacurse’s Instagram page that mentioned Philippians 4:8. It said to fix your thoughts on things that are true and pure. Those were overall good moments for me.
10. Has there ever been a point in your life when you felt like God was trying to get your attention?
a. I was walking in the mall with my friend from class after stress shopping. As we were walking to the food court, I will never forget I saw this little boy with an oversized yellow church shirt. He came up to me and said, “Jesus loves you!” I replied thanks and he gave me a note with a scripture about Jesus loving me. I thought it was weird because I wasn’t expecting that.
b. Another incident happened when I was working with a high school and I was sitting on the bleachers when a Christian fellowship leader came up to me and inquired about my cross necklace. He said, “Why do you wear it?” The question caught me off guard because no one has ever asked me that before. It was given to me when I started college and I’ve been wearing it since undergrad. I’ve been wearing it for about six years and I hardly ever take it off. The leader and I went into a conversation about God and he was talking to be about getting more involved in the church and learning about God. He encouraged me to dig deeper into the cross’ meaning. A couple of days later a classmate that I’ve been around for two years pulled me to the side and asked, “Why do you wear that cross?” Then we had an entire conversation about the meaning of the cross. She also encouraged me to dig a little deeper as well. This happened in a span of two days. These were two unrelated parties!
c. Another time happened when I was very worried about school and something woke me out of my sleep and said, “Jiji go to church!” I go to church sometimes but nothing has ever woke me up and said, “Get your clothes on!” Therefore, I got my clothes on ready to go to church. I went to church and the sermon was about Jesus walking on the water, Matthew 14:22. The pastor said winds and waves are there to cultivate and strengthen you. Always remember that God assigns winds and waves even if you’re headed in the right direction. Sometimes he gives those winds and waves to test your faith and to see if you will allow God to be a light in your life and allow him to mold you and build you for your assignment. That takes me back to John 16:33 where Jesus mentions we will have trials and tribulations but be of good cheer because He’s already overcome the world. I always go back and read those notes. Also, always remember to stay in the boat and let Him build and strengthen you for what’s to come. That was so powerful to me.
11. How do you attribute this testimony to God coming through for you?
I started to apply to residency programs to fulfill my postgraduate plans. I applied to Ohio State and I was amped! My application was on point! During that time, I was experiencing “apophenia” which is defined as perceiving things to be related that are actually unrelated. Around the application time, I didn’t think the school would be interested in me but I would see Ohio state stickers everywhere! I thought these were signs from God because I was seeing things that I never noticed before lol. The “signs” didn’t mean anything because the Ohio State residency program denied me. I also applied to Arizona State and University of Miami. Arizona actually wanted me and they set up an interview. My parents didn’t agree with that acceptance because they didn’t want me to be all the way in the west coast. But I decided to go forth with that school because, at the time, I didn’t hear from Miami yet. Again, I figured Miami didn’t want me and I actually made a split decision applying last minute.
One day I booked my plane ticket for Arizona and a week and a half later, I got my acceptance letter from Miami. Things became interesting because I booked a $400 flight to Arizona and Miami was interested in scheduling an interview with me the following week. I became very flustered because I had to research before the Miami interview. During my phone interview with Miami, I heard someone say “red flag” in the background. I still don’t know what that meant but 32 minutes later, I got an email from Miami that said they had a large pool of candidates but they wanted to extend another offer to another program. Initially, I thought he was throwing me off to the side. I ended up speaking to my advisor and professor at school and they advised me saying, I shouldn’t do it if it wasn’t something I wanted. I became so skeptical because the extended offer wasn’t the program I applied to but the director insisted I would be a better fit in that area. I agreed and was willing to talk to the other director but I was still skeptical.
I remember being on Instagram and ran into farfromacurse’s insta-story that said, “God will put you in positions you didn’t even apply for.” At this time, I wasn’t talking to Blessing frequently and I didn’t update her on my life so it was such a coincidence that she posted it that day. After seeing that post, I decided to give the second job interview a fair shot. I had the interview, talked to the other director, and received the job offer four days later for that alternate program. I immediately took the offer! Despite the good news, I was still upset about possibly losing my $400 (non-refundable ticket) for my flight to Arizona. My brother encouraged me to submit a refund request despite it being a non-refundable ticket. I submitted the request and I got my $400 refund a week later!
12. Where are you now?
I passed boards! I am currently looking for housing in Miami. The situation taught me to trust God in the unknown because everything is already written.
13. What advice do you have for people who are thinking about applying to PT school or anyone studying for a major exam with really bad anxiety?
First, don’t be discouraged by rejection and failure because you have to remember that these are obstacles, waves, and winds that are there to strengthen you. When you’re talking to God don’t ask him to remove it, ask him to strengthen you to endure it because it is going to prepare you for what’s to come in the end. Don’t ask him to remove it because it’s there for a reason. Also, don’t ever think you’re not worthy! He can open doors that won’t be closed. Always remember God is walking on the water and He’s walking with the wind. He walks on your problems and He walks with your problems. He’s always there even when you think you’re alone. He hears you and He’s listening.
I hope this testimony encourages anyone out there that might be studying for an exam in high school, a master’s program, or doctor’s program. Always remember that God is always with you if you put him first and he will always show you the signs that he is with you as well. Thank you for joining us!
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Until next time…