I Choose Truth
During my senior year, just like almost every other senior, all I heard was, “So what are you doing after graduation?” This simple question easily brought me so much anxiety. For some reason, I started to doubt that law was my calling. I was excelling in the international studies field, going to the World Bank all too often, conducting my own independent research in Spain, and offering financial advice to a small village in Honduras. But in all honesty, I was not trying to take the LSAT (admission exam for law school); everybody said it was hard and I was low-key intimidated. I tried to run away from pursuing law, but once I sat down and actually sought God about my purpose, He undoubtedly affirmed that law was for me. My fear of taking the LSAT was not necessarily dispelled after that, but I knew I could do it. Well, at that point, I had to. My goal was to go to a top 14 law school, which required me to have a 4.0 GPA and 170 LSAT score. I was definitely short on the GPA, so the only option I had was to extremely excel at the LSAT. I knew, however, this would ONLY be possible with lots of hard work and a whole lot of GOD!
Studying for LSAT had to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, honestly. A stiff person could learn how to Nae Nae faster than they could learn how to simply understand this exam. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University in May 2014, I had to deal with everyone’s Facebook posts of how they’re working at Goldman Sachs, or going off to medical school, or just anything else that had to do with growing up and making the world a better place. But I was at home…studying…my life away, literally. Mind you, I took two months to study and take the GRE. I never knew how much I struggled until I took a Kaplan course and met people who well surpassed my target score. I am usually good at setting a goal and accomplishing it, but the LSAT let me know it would be much harder than I thought. That six-week course, to me, amounted to almost nothing. With all the heaps of books and materials they offered us, I still was barely improving. I pushed my exam back two more months; as I was completely not ready. I felt I had to do something else.
Through the Vice President of a summer program I did at Princeton University, I was able to get a private tutor for free. Can you say ‘God siced?’ Every day, I commuted to Bethesda to meet one of the best tutors in D.C. She literally tutors the kids of all the top professions in D.C. I thought that with private tutoring, things would totally change. But no, I was still struggling. My target score no longer seemed like a possibility, but I still tried. Both my Kaplan teacher and my tutor told me I should focus on applying to schools of lower ranking. And all that time, I had my family reaping heaps of pressure upon me to do well. I felt hopeless. Every single way I turned, I saw blatant discouragement, that is, until I garnered the strength to finally look up to God. God affirmed that law school was my calling, and He told me to apply for the 2015 cycle. Those were the only words I had; they were the only words worth believing. I soon began to snatch up every promise I could find in the Bible. In Deuteronomy 8:7, God promised me that He was bringing me to a good land. In Deuteronomy 9:1-3, He promised to clear the path for me to do the impossible. And in Daniel 1:4 and 17, He promised to bless me with knowledge. I recited these promises over myself day in and day out.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.”
Psalm 130:5 (NKJV)
Even after getting my score, which was the lowest score I asked Daddy for, I knew I had to anchor my soul on the words of Father. My mentors even told me to apply next year so I could retake the LSAT, but I knew what God had told me, and I had no choice but to stick to it. I HAD TO STOP BEING REALISTIC AND START BEING HOPEFUL. I VOWED TO LIVE BY THE REALITY OF THE WORD NOT OF THE WORLD.
I told myself that I would not limit God’s “impossibilities” (what I deemed impossible). I knew that if it were God’s will for me to go to a top law school, He would jump any and every protocol for His daughter. So I believed and kept believing.
When it came time to start applying, God graced me with amazing people to help me throughout the whole process. I sent out all 21 applications in complete faith, not having to pay one application fee. And by February, I started to hear back from schools. I was getting into every school (ah!), but I didn’t hear from any of my top schools yet, until one day I took a break at my job (at the #1 immigration law firm in the country, which God literally handed to me on a silver plate) and had a voicemail from a random California number. It was Dean Edward Tom from Berkeley Law calling to tell ME... that I got accepted! Wait, I don’t think you got that. I said MEEE! I had never wept like I did after that. I couldn’t even go back to work after that. I was in total shock and in awe at the same time. Their median LSAT and GPA were 167 and 3.81, with a 12% acceptance rate, and I didn’t even have a 160 or 3.8. THAT IS GOD!
My constant prayer was God please give me what I NEED, and not what I want. And praise God for that prayer because Lord knows I didn't get close to what I wanted, but guess what? I didn't need it! What I NEEDED was to depend on God. My desires were simple: go to a top 14 law school, go to a law school with a top international law program, and go to a law school in California. University of California, Berkeley is all of that, plus more! God, the greatest loving Father, gave me the desires of my heart, simply because He placed them there and has destined me to fulfill my purpose through Him. I didn’t allow those “realities” to taint my revelation of Jesus Christ as the Truth and all that He promised me. Daddy God gave me everything I wanted with what He deemed I needed. My experiences in life will not change my revelation of God, but more importantly, my revelation of God will change my experiences in life! I learned what it meant to have complete faith in God’s promises. I came to understand God’s word as the final word and ultimate truth. Now I’m ready to evangelize on the streets of Berkeley, as well as in the classroom!
Maria Adebayo is a recent graduate of John Hopkins University, where she studied International Studies and Sociology with concentrations in Global Social Change and Development with a minor in Spanish for the Professions. Maria is interested in international law and economic development and poverty alleviation. She hopes to one day pursue a Master's degree in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. As of now, she works at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, a global immigration law firm located in Washington, D.C. During her free time, Maria enjoys looking cute, exercising, taking pictures, riding thru the six with my woes and loving God.