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July 26, 2017

The Undercover Pathway Student — Effort

Pathway writer Dannielle Hext experienced the importance of effort as an undercover student in PathwayConnect

As a writer at BYU-Pathway, I didn’t fully understand the student experience. Every day, I heard stories about how PathwayConnect changes lives, but I wanted to experience it myself. So I went undercover for one semester to see the program through a student’s eyes. This is what I learned…

Lesson 2: Effort

“I’ve been trying. I haven’t been perfect, but I’m trying.”

These words, written in my journal on February 19, 2017, captured my feelings during the first months of my semester in PathwayConnect. During that time, I worked hard to show Heavenly Father that I wanted to do well in the program, and hoped to be blessed for it. I was.

As I worked through the program, I excelled. I was inspired and motivated by the coursework, I was happier with my life, and I was able to find answers to questions I had been asking for years.

Eliminating distractions is a great way to improve your study habits. As you study, try turning off your phone or other distracting devices around you.

The effort I put into PathwayConnect invited the Spirit into my life, which brought all kinds of changes for the better. I was amazed at how PathwayConnect boosted my spirituality and my confidence. Through taking PathwayConnect, I learned that if you put forth effort, you will see results.

Learning to Try

When I started PathwayConnect, my study habits were pretty terrible. I had a tendency to alternate between my Facebook feed and my weekly coursework; I would reply to a post on the discussion board, then watch a cat video.

After a while, I began to realize that I wasn’t really studying at all. I probably only processed about ten percent of the material I was supposed to be learning. This realization shocked me, and I concluded that if I wanted to grow during my time in PathwayConnect, I would need to work to improve my study skills.

From that time on, I began focusing more on my homework. I put Facebook away, and I turned my phone off and put it out of reach. I dedicated my study time to actually reading and understanding the coursework. I began to see the application of lessons in my daily life. I found it easier to study my scriptures. I prayed more sincerely.

Dealing with Failure

My efforts didn’t last forever, though. As the semester continued, I got busy. And the busier I got, the less time I dedicated to my assignments. I still finished most of the work, but I found that I had slipped back into my old study habits.

ADVICE from a PathwayConnect student (me):

If you’re a PathwayConnect student and you’ve fallen behind like I did, don’t worry.

Talk to your instructor about potentially making up assignments. Most importantly, try from right now to forgive yourself and move on, resolving to make a change.

One day, as I struggled to finish an assignment fifteen minutes before it was due, I received a text message from one of my classmates. “I hate finishing assignments so late,” the message read. “I feel like I don’t learn anything.”

At first, I was surprised by the message, but as I submitted my assignment, I realized my classmate was right. I was only putting in just enough effort to complete my assignments. I was missing out on opportunities to learn and grow.

I decided to fix my mistakes. I refocused my priorities and scheduled my time so I could dedicate myself to my coursework and reflect on what I had learned.

Again, I began to see myself change. My effort made it possible to get the lessons I needed to learn into my heart and help me improve both educationally and spiritually. If I had continued to only do the bare minimum, I don’t think the program would have had as powerful an effect in my life.

The Law of the Harvest

After completing a semester in PathwayConnect, I have come to understand the meaning of the scripture when it explains, “whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.”1 I learned that when students consistently invest their time and effort in the coursework, they feel  themselves grow and improve the most. They feel guided by the Lord as they work and prepare for their futures.

If you are considering PathwayConnect, know that your efforts in the program will not be wasted. If you work hard, you will change your life. If you’re willing to try, PathwayConnect is for you. I felt my life change every time I threw myself into the coursework and worked as hard as I could — and you can, too.

The Lord uses the imagery of a wheat field to teach us that the more effort we put into something, the more we get out of it. Similarly, the more effort students put into their studies, the more they will learn and grow.



This article is part two of a four-part series dedicated to the lessons Dannielle learned during her experience as an undercover student in PathwayConnect. In part one, she talks about friendship in PathwayConnect. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for parts three and four!

You can experience the blessings of PathwayConnect, too! Explore what PathwayConnect has to offer and apply for the program by visiting BYU-Pathway’s website.

1. ^ D&C 6:33

Comments on "The Undercover Pathway Student — Effort"

Mary M Copeland says:

Adventures in Pathway
My inner child was dragging her feet, punching my stomach and screaming so loud I thought everyone could hear. Panic had set in long before I had set my GPS for 1116 Yew Ave NE, Olympia, Washington. Now I was lost on a very narrow street with bushes scraping the sides of my little Matrix as I slowly proceeded on the route the disembodied voice directed. As I turned the corner and saw the church, one level of anxiety disappeared while another ballooned ever larger. What had I been thinking when I signed up for this Pathway business? I was completely out of my mind to commit to driving an hour and a half each way for a gathering of people I didn’t know. I couldn’t carry on a conversation. If I could utter an opening line, I could never coherently and seamlessly end one. What could an ‘old lady’ like me have in common with these younger people who worked, took care of children AND were going to school? I was never able to do that. I had waited until I was not just retired but O.L.D….ancient. Why had the Lord directed me on this journey? I couldn’t do it.
I took a deep breath to calm my frazzled nerves, stepped out of the car and walked reluctantly across the parking lot to a group of people standing by the door. An older gentleman,(not older than me, of course, but older) asked if I were here to help with the church service project. The child within started screaming again. “No,” I said loudly, trying to drown her out. “I don’t think so, I’m here for the Pathway class.” The gentlemen directed me to the side door of the building.
I went inside, stumbled my way upstairs and found ‘The Room.’ It was filled with people, all of them strangers. I think I went into shock…not the kind where you shake all over and faint dead away, although I sort of felt like doing so…but the kind where you’re just numb, your brain goes on auto-pilot and you respond to questions automatically with a vacant smile on your face.
I found a seat next to the lady that seemed to be closest to my age. She was very sweet and helpful. For a person that spent most of her adult life working with and teaching computer classes, all of a sudden I couldn’t remember how to engage my browser. The child within was incoherent by this time, sobbing quietly in a corner of my brain. The kind missionary couple who had first talked to me was working to make things easier for all of us.
As I became more aware of those around me, I found quite a few were also having problems with their computers and those that had figured it all out were patiently helping those with questions. In fact, several were smiling and talking to me. This group of strangers was becoming less strange. We all became familiar with our on-line software and felt comfortable starting the first class the following Thursday. We …what a comforting word…we, it has the feeling of cohesiveness, of acceptance. My inner child was peeking out from her hiding place and finding fellow students on the same quest.
Our first semester was a growing experience. We truly became a group working towards a common goal. The hour and a half drive was still daunting at times, especially in the bad weather. But by the end of the semester, it was a Thursday outing. I would spend the day shopping with my sister and then we would go to class, she to observe and me to learn and lead. What an exciting experience. I had taught classes before and I enjoyed teaching. But leading a discussion was a different way to learn and I loved it. In fact, I was so excited with the concept that I started to use it in other classes that I was teaching. As we discussed different aspects of the lesson and shared our opinions, we grew. We came to know that those around us were there to learn, to support, and to share. My inner child was blooming. There was no longer a feeling of terror. In its place was a feeling of acceptance and joy.
Then Math Class happened! It started out with basic math: adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. This I could do…even the more extensive problems were manageable. Then the dastardly “word problems” were introduced. I hated word problems. Now it was not only my inner child that was in panic mode. Then came pi and integers and linear equations…Oh, my! I worked long hours trying to comprehend and apply what I was learning. Now I was looking forward to the gathering because I knew my group could help me understand. I wasn’t afraid to show my lack of knowledge because there were others having the same problem and there were others who gladly walked through the problems with me until I understood. Many an evening, I used my tablet to make a picture of the equation that had been worked out on the board. I made it through math. We made it through math. We were now not just a gathering or a group, we were family.
By this time our little family had lost some of its members and we sadly waved goodbye as they left. The lady that I had recognized as a safe harbor my first day, was called to do other assignments and was unable to continue. Some left because of illness. Scott had surgery our last semester and had to discontinue. We were truly sad to see him go. He’s going to finish the final semester next year. Matt was promoted and took a new job farther away and was unable to continue. We missed his sense of humor and straight talk. Melina was promoted and ended up in Baltimore and had to quit. They had all become family and we missed them greatly.
Now there are just two weeks of class remaining and my inner child is again becoming agitated. She and I can not imagine not sharing our Thursday evenings with this dear family. How can we possibly just say goodbye and never see one another again? I know we’d love to get together even once a month and share our experiences and where we are in life. I also know that life will get in the way and it won’t happen even that often. But I’m hoping that we can keep in touch by email and maybe once a year, this little Pathway family can get together and reminisce and share experiences. My inner child is reassured by that thought. So am I.

Alyona says:

What do I do if I’m only 16 years old and I already want to enroll in PathwayConnect?

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