This is going to be a long story, just as a warning!
I remember when I was in elementary school, I considered 3-5 “jobs”. Not that it matters because as we grow older, we change our minds a lot. At one point, I wanted to be a doctor, then another point, a priest (and then maybe law and pharmacy in between). When I was in elementary school, and maybe up to grade 7, I was an altar server. For the whole year of my grade 7, I remember praying the rosary every day and praying for at least an hour. I loved my faith. Even up to grade 9, I had the goal to be a saint. lol.
Going through high school and middle school, I was more and more attracted to health care. At the same time, starting around grade 7, horrible things were beginning in my family that I didn’t know what it was about until grade 8. Let’s just say my dad was involved with more than alcohol and leave it at that. This was about the time my faith started to come apart. Because of my dad’s irregularities of being at home, I was unable to complete my confirmation year. Thus, I started to drift from the faith. At the same time, I have always been inquisitive in nature; the way catechism was taught did not mentally stimulate me; it presented me with flowery things instead of reason and I got bored. So through my middle/high school years, I started to lose a lot of faith. I still believed in God and I held onto the Catholic values, but maybe from grade 8-10 or so, whenever my mom would say God will help us or something, I would ask her “If God is so good, then why is He letting this happen to us? Where is this good God now?”
Then I graduated from high school with over $30,000 in worth of scholarships – my whole tuition was paid for, my books, my transportation, and other things. Initially for the first two years of university, I wanted to go into a different health faculty, but by my third year, after my mom had anxiety attacks and among the hospital visits, I changed my mind and wanted to go into medicine instead (my initial health faculty option was not involved in “saving lives”). My major is in math by the way – I already finished my pre-medicine requirements. Now going through university, I was still struggling with my faith and I wasn’t happy where I was. I guess fortunately, we were required to take humanities courses (I was so against the humanities; as a science student, I thought the humanities was dumb). So I took a philosophy course and we covered Aristotle and Aquinas each for about a week. I absolutely loved it. My final paper was based on these two. This piqued my interest and I started reading St. Augustine’s Confessions. I’ve only read the first few chapters but I found him relatable and it just radically changed my way of thinking. So in January 2014, after talking to my friend, she said something like “Dan, I want you to go to church on Sunday.” So I went and I liked it. Shortly after, I contacted the RCIA program in my local parish (and went to confession in February) and got confirmed in June(?). I was able to get over my racist thoughts (because as I had my family struggles, it was always in relation to a certain race my dad associated with), I was able to get over my fear of germs and was able to shake hands with a homeless person, it became clear to me to no longer be for capital punishment – I was able to see God in all things, in all aspects of my life. I was able to move on from my past and the sins I had committed.
Throughout the whole time, I had been praying to God, to show me where He wants me to go and to give me the strength to follow; that I will follow Him wherever He may lead me. In June, I was offered a job with our government. I was contracted to work from July to August if I accept. But during that summer, I was supposed to be studying to take the medical entrance exam. I thought to myself, “If I don’t make it into medicine, at least I can use the experience I get from this job as a stepping stone to a back up plan.” Also, both my parents were saying “If you can handle it, take it. But it’s up to you.” My dad added, “But this is your chance and if I were you, I would take it.” But ultimately it was up to me. Out of obedience and out of practicality, I took it.
Then in August, my mom was diagnosed with cancer. This meant she wouldn’t be working, and since my dad isn’t working (he hasn’t been working since elementary school), all the financial obligations would fall on me. Thankfully, my boss asked if I would like to stay with them for two more terms (until May). I accepted. It’s like God had plans to shelter us financially. When I was returning to university (I was going back because my tuition is still free and I wanted to upgrade my degree), I knew there was a chance of failure. Still, I had trust in God. At the same time, I’d like to stress how I used to be so uptight about my GPA. I was a planner; I liked knowing where I am going with things. But when I was returning, I was a bit more calm about the possibility of failure for some reason. Anyway, I got my results from last semester and I failed one course. I have never failed to obtain anything I want academically in my life. At the same time as that semester, I was teaching catechism (so I started in September, 2014 and am still teaching now). Before the catechetical year began, it was actually the sister who taught my RCIA class that said she wanted to suggest me to teach a class. I felt the call and took around two months to pray, after which I responded to God’s call and accepted.