On strange coincidences and returning to University
Due to severe mental health issues, stressful environmental circumstances, and some “minor” issues with drug usage, I dropped out of University back in 2012 when I was in my fourth year; I had pretty much failed my way to senior level.
After a 3 year break from uni, and fairly intensive treatment… the prospect of returning to university began to grow on me. Unfortunately though, my fails were so common and severe, that my chances of getting back in were pretty unlikely. One night though I randomly had this dream, I was waiting for a university lecture in the lobby of a furnished, modern building. I didn’t think much of it… but for some reason it stuck.
Months later I was on the way to Broadway to meet some friends. I was walking down Parramatta Road, alongside the University of Technology Sydney. I was wrapped up in my own thoughts… and was beginning to imagine the possibility of applying there. That was when I was passing their new building, and as I was passing it, I looked through the street-level windows, and could see what appeared to be the same lobby that I had dreamt of.
Despite my experiences, the truth is that I am a doubter, through and through. I automatically dismissed this occurrence as a coincidence, allowed myself to get caught back up in my thoughts, and carried on my way.
But just before I passed the end of the building, I mindlessly looked over to my right and there hanging in front of my face was a sign labelled “Building number 11″. For reasons I won’t go into right now, and as crazy as this sounds, the number has been the center of some enormous and unlikely coincidences throughout my life.
At that point… I decided that I would seriously consider applying for UTS. But quickly after, like the faithful doubter that I am… I was soon to be found sitting at a computer questioning whether this was such a bright idea. I mindlessly checked my phone, it read 10:11 am. Funnily enough, UTS was the only city-based University that I had a chance of getting into. Ok, I thought to myself, what have I got to lose?
Because of my atrocious academic track record at Sydney Uni, my only chance of being accepted into UTS was to write a letter directly to the Admissions Manager. The letter was to explain my academic history and needed to be supported by relevant medical documents. I submitted the letter and medical documents, and hoped for the best. This was in November.
Two months passed and I received no word. Finally late January came along and I received an email. I opened the email and then logged onto the website….
For every one of the five courses that I applied for, it read: “Your level of achievement in your qualifications is below the minimum standard required to be considered for an offer to this course.
Moments like that, they’re discouraging. I was in a state of shock. I was sure that the signs had pointed me to UTS. Had I got it wrong? Had I been getting it wrong every time? Were the signs non-existent? Were they ever really there? Has my faith been misplaced all these years? Was it always a coincidence? I sat there stunned… for about 30 minutes. Are my core beliefs wrong? I begin to wonder.
But in that moment I had to make a decision… Because faith is a choice. And I chose to put my faith into action. I hop on the computer in search of any options available.
UTS offers an aptitude assessment. I think it may even be the only University in Sydney that does. “I’ll take it.” I register for the assessment and In that moment glance at my phone… It’s 11 past the hour.
The next day I determinedly visit the University’s student center about any other options that might be available. The guy says to me, “I’m sorry, but I can tell you now that you’re almost certainly not going to get in. Your qualifications don’t meet the required standards. You will have to look into alternate pathways.”
I edit my UTS application. Add another four courses to my application so now I am hoping to be accepted into any one of nine science courses. The academic programs officer agrees to let me sit the aptitude assessment. For reasons I won’t go into now, I actually messed up my performance on 1/3 of the entire exam. No hopeful ending in sight.
On the eve of the results’ release, just two nights ago, like the faithful doubter that I am, I climb into bed feeling dejected. Discouraged. I’m never going to get in… My faith was misplaced. Are my core beliefs wrong? I begin to wonder.
But in that moment I had a decision to make. Because faith is a choice. And I chose to put my faith into action. I plug my earphones in, play some worship music, and I pray. And I pray until I fall asleep…
Finally morning comes and I receive an email. I opened the email and then I log onto the website….
For my first preference it read: You have received an offer in this course
But not only that. Because for every single one of the eight other courses that I had applied for, the words read eligible.
Today I was walking around, wrapped up in my thoughts as I often am. I began to think to myself, you know, maybe I really can have faith that God will take care of all things for me. I blinked a couple of times, brought myself back down to earth. And there it is, I find myself confronted face to face with the number 11 looking at me.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s truth. I really don’t now. Life is strange and there are so many questions and confusing things. What I do know is that I am a faithful doubter. Tomorrow I will likely wake up with a fresh obstacle in mind, and a doubtful hope for the future. But I also know that faith is a choice. And I will choose to put my faith into action. And maybe, just maybe, things will work out, as they have every other time.