Written by: Shawn Barnes

Picture it: The year was 2017, my sophomore year had just ended in high school, and I had just finished attending graduation for the class of 2017. I went home inspired by what some people in the class were seeking to achieve, but also, the realization had hit that I had no clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. Over the summer my parents started to put pressure on me to at least get an idea of what I wanted to do, so that we could start visiting colleges.

I started to do some research into it, but alas, I couldn’t narrow my list of potential careers down and much less what I wanted to major in. I thought to myself, there was just too much to consider when making a decision this important, like I might never be able to change my decision once I start down this path. So, it was imperative to me at the time to look up every little detail on the careers and majors I was looking into. Which I didn’t realize then, but reflecting on it now I overthink way too many of my decisions.

I knew I wanted to go into the field of biology (which at the time was my favorite subject), and my primary goal was to just make a lot of money. Of course I wanted to help others, if I could, a long the way, but I was more interested in my own personal needs than others. One day, I took a break from researching careers to mindlessly scroll through memes when I stumbled across one in particular that simply stated, “My pharmacist’s boat.” Below the statement it had a picture of a boat that had the words “drug money” written on the side of it. I got a laugh out of it, but it piqued my curiosity to look more into pharmacy. As I did more research, I came to the conclusion that this career path was the best of both worlds: I could help people, as well as make a ton of money. I considered this an absolute win.

Now that the origin story is over, I can get to the core of what this blog was intended to cover, which is me completely changing my mindset from what you just read. So I started off my freshman year as a Biochemistry major with the intention of pursuing a career in pharmacology. That was THE PLAN, no backups or alterations to it. However, throughout my first semester I started to notice that I was absolutely terrible at chemistry, and I needed to change majors fast. There was no way I would be able to pass like 6 or 7 more chemistry classes.

With my plan being burned to a crisp behind me, I very hastily made several new plans to replace the old, because I thought I so desperately needed a plan to live by. I ended up just changing my major from biochemistry to biology, because I was encouraged to make sure I absolutely did not want to do biology anymore. So my second semester I took biology, and while parts of it were enjoyable, I could not get past the fact that there was so much chemistry behind it. So I was once again left with searching for a new major, but this semester there had been a new and unexpected influence upon my life, and that influence was Perspectives.

For those who don’t know, Perspectives is a class that is meant to encourage people to find their place in fulfilling God’s plan to reach the nations, which is a very shortened way of describing the class. I didn’t really know when I signed up to take this class, that the impact it would have on my life would be this major. I greatly enjoyed the entire class and wish I had devoted even more time to it than I did. Though if I had to pinpoint a specific moment in the course that had the greatest impact on my decisions, it would have to be Perspectives lesson #8.

This lesson covered the lives of several past missionaries, though one individual stood out to me and his name was William Borden. William Borden was a millionaire who left behind his life for missions and sought to reach the Gansu province of China. He died in Egypt before he ever reached this province and in the back of his Bible it was found that he had written, “ No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets”. He had everything I was striving to achieve, but yet he gave it up. After hearing this and more about William Borden’s life, I began rethinking what I had valued when I was determining a major and career path.

For the record there are a myriad of other things that influenced my decision on changing my major though I feel like Perspectives had the biggest impact. And so, by the end of it, I came to the conclusion that it was time to incorporate God’s plan into whatever plan I develop. So I changed my major from biology to International Studies with only a slight idea of the direction I want to go with it. But, I at least know that whatever I do, my values are now focused on God’s plan and helping others.