I remember it like it was yesterday, walking into the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the venue for the SATs, on that Sunday morning, nervous as all get out, as I queued up with a bunch of kids who were just like me. We were the kids who for whatever reason couldn’t take the major aptitude test on Saturday. It was obvious who was who. There were the Jewish kids who stuck together on the steps with their SAT Prep books on their laps, their lips mouthing the words as they crammed at the last second. There were the slackers, the kids who had either overslept or somehow missed the Saturday version of the test, but for whom there was no other time to take it in order for them to graduate. Maybe they still wouldn’t graduate, but at least they could say they had taken the SAT, even if it was on a Sunday. Then there were the ones like me, the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDAs) who all wore khakis and some type of collared shirts, even the girls, because that was just how we rolled.
If you’re like most people I’ve run into since those days, you are probably wondering what an SDA really is, and why we were so special that we got to take the SAT on Sunday, so I’ll enlighten you, because I’m just so nice. Seventh-Day Adventists believe in the creation story where God made the world in seven days, and He rested on the seventh day, and saw that it was good. This view lends itself to a specific interpretation, that God rested on the seventh day and we should as well. Since Saturday is the seventh day, therefore this rest has to be on that day, not on Sunday as most Western religions observe it. SDAs worship this day of rest from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, keeping it sacred with no work, just fellowship. The SAT counts as work, so all the SDAs have to take the test on Sunday instead. I remember looking around and recognizing many people from my church school there to take the SAT as well on that Sunday, so it was almost like a reunion.
Now you’re probably wondering what I mean by church school, and that’s where SDAs are super-cool as well. You see, SDAs have their own schools, private schools where there are courses like “religion,” and “health,” where the SDA health message is taught. One of the biggest tenets of the SDA health message is to avoid meat, so SDAs are supposed to be vegetarians (although there are many who disregard the health message for whatever reason), but there are many more restrictions. It’s all in the name of respecting our bodies because they are the temple of God. So I went over and chatted with my fellow SDAs while we waited for the doors to open. Funny how SDAs wouldn’t even think of having SAT Prep books, or trying to cram last-second information, because in our church school we were drilled with so many facts, so many math problems, so many writing pieces, that we were all set, and we saw no need to work more on a Sunday morning. That’s not to say that we all got great scores on the test, but at least we weren’t freaking out over it.
Then they opened the doors, and we flooded in at 9 o’clock on that Sunday morning, ready to take one of the biggest tests of our life. When I look back on it, I remember the waiting for it first, when we naturally segregated ourselves, even though there were so few of us, and I wonder why we felt the need. Maybe it was just a comfort level, or maybe we felt elitist, or maybe that’s just the way it is with teenagers. Even though we all shared something, taking the test on Sunday for whatever reasons, we couldn’t break out of our shells to maybe help make the experience less harrowing for everyone. Oh, and I got a 1450. I know. Not too shabby.
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Off to School
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Suiting Up
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Being a “Preacher’s Kid” [Freshly Pressed]
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: A Different Kind of Brother
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Divisions
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Academy Life
Growing Up Seventh-Day Adventist: Getting Healthy