Friday, September 27, 2013

College! {Part 2}

Back to School

{If you missed Part 1 click HERE}

After doing some research for online degrees and coming up empty, I set aside the thoughts for school. 

Then last Spring I got a call from my Relief Society President.  She had just been told about a new program set up by the church and BYU Idaho.  The program is called Pathway.  She explained what she knew about it at that point which wasn’t much.  She only knew that it was extremely affordable and all online.  {Except for the first year… I’ll explain later.}

Sounded like just what we needed!  But I was surprised that Anthony hadn’t said anything about it.  He is on the high council for our stake.  Surely they would have been informed of this wonderful program.  Maybe it was too good to be true. 

After talking with my RS president I immediately called Anthony at work to ask him if he’d heard about it.  He said yes but didn’t know enough about it to say anything and honestly thought it was another opportunity we would have to pass up because of where we are in life right now.  School just didn’t seem to fit in.  He knew there was going to be a fireside about it coming up and we planned to attend.  It was highly recommended that all members of the high council attend just to learn more about it. 

The fireside took place in June (I think?).  All the logistics were explained; the cost, the program itself, the possibility of transferring after the first year… everything!  By the end of the fireside we both knew that it was exactly what we BOTH wanted to do!  The fireside was held at the Salt Lake Community College Institute Building and it was a full house!  It actually was a 2 day deal.  The first night was for those of us 31 and over.  The second night was for anyone 18-30.  While there I saw my 9th grade seminary teacher who now teaches institute.  That was fun.  I was surprised he remembered me… the OLDer me.  Old, as in age.  It’s been close to 20 years. 


When I knew him he hadn’t had any kids yet.  I learned that he now has five, though one passed away.  **Heidi, if you’re reading this… He told me to tell you hi!**

Anyway, we went home and signed up right away.  Tuition wasn’t due until the first day which wasn’t until September 16th so we had a while to gather up funds.  Unfortunately, when you’re as tight as we are you just don’t have even a dollar to pinch so we had to get an advance at work.  That makes for itty bitty checks the following two pay days ;).  But, what can ya do?

One of the greatest parts about this program is that you don’t have to have a high school diploma or even a GED.  There are also no tests (SAT’s or ACT’s) required.  You just have to be a member of the church and take the Pathway courses required.  After the Pathway year (3 semesters) is done, you can transfer to another school or continue with BYU-I. 

So, here’s how it works.  For the first year everyone is on the same ‘path’.  We all take the same classes and during the same semesters.  Every Thursday there is a “Gathering”.  This program is available all over the world in various locations but only opened up this year in Utah.  I believe there are two locations.  The one we attend got such a great response (far more than they expected) that they had to put us (ages 31+) in a different location than originally planned.  Both groups were supposed to meet at the same location.  From what I understand, they expected about 80 students TOTAL to sign up for this location but got over 300.  They sent us old folks ;) to a local high school seminary building.  The other Utah location is in Sandy and I don’t know what kind of response they got. 

Once in our respective ‘classes’ overseen by specially appointed Pathway Missionaries (a real calling in the church now) we are taught by a fellow student that leads the class.  Each student is expected to lead at least once over the course of the program. 

I’m extremely nervous about that! 

While most of our school work is done online, the Gatherings are just as important and count toward the final grade.  Missing more than 1 or 2 Gatherings can really affect your grade.  Since we need a B average to pass and integrate into the regular BYU-I online courses. 

Right now, we are taking Book of Mormon 1 Religion class (Institute) and Life Skills.   18-30 have to take Institute at the community college.  31+ take it online.  A whoppin’ 5 credit hours. 


We are total wimps!  I don’t know if I could handle a full time schedule.  I thought this would be so easy.  Anthony and I are both feeling very overwhelmed but in a good way.  We are having so much fun. 

I can’t explain the spirit that has been with us.  We’ve been teased about going to BYU and being closet BYU fans.  If you know us (especially Anthony and the kids) you know that we are huge Utah fans.  But I am telling you, the spirit is with us and we are learning so much spiritually.  BYU-I makes sure to include the spirit in every lesson.  It’s amazing! 

I feel so blessed to be a member of this wonderful church and know the true gospel.  We’ve only been to two Gatherings so far but already I feel a connection to some of the class members.  And even online, we are required to participate in group discussions and get to know each other a bit.  We are having so much fun and can’t wait to see what will come of this. 

It was brought to our attention by the missionary couple that we’ve been assigned to that we are “an elite few” in knowing about and being able to participate in this amazing program.  If you mention the Pathway Program to people, most have no clue what it is.  They’ve never heard of it.  So, we feel extremely blessed to be a part of it.  I hope that it can bless many more lives in the near future. 

And that, my friends, is my ‘pathway’ to college.  It finally feels right!  It finally feels doable!  And now I know that THIS is why it wasn’t right before.  Anthony and I are doing this together and I already feel it bringing us closer in a way. 

And hey, I can now say that I married my college sweetheart!  ;)  We were just married before the college part. 

The best part of this for me is that my kids will see us doing this.  I hope it will serve as an example for them.  Maybe because they watch us on our roads to getting degrees they will want to do the same.  


1 comment:

Sanz @ From The Mrs. said...

Good for you guys! I've never heard of this program, which surprises me. :) Good luck to you and happy studying!