August 23, 2017
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 4: Growth
My room was a mess, my bed was unmade, and I hadn’t started my homework yet. I was lying on the floor and talking to my mom on the phone, telling her how PathwayConnect was going.
I didn’t think it was going that well. I had done poorly on several assignments and began to feel discouraged. I was questioning whether or not it was worth it to continue in the program.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized quitting PathwayConnect wouldn’t solve my problem. Instead, I decided to stay in the program and press forward despite my difficulties. I grew in more ways than I ever thought I would.
During my time in PathwayConnect, I learned that the most growth often occurs when students don’t give up, even when the program gets tough.
PathwayConnect isn’t for perfect students
I’m not the only student who has considered quitting PathwayConnect because of less-than-perfect grades. An academic advisor at the BYU-Pathway Home Office once told me that many students drop out of the program. She explained that students often expect themselves to be perfect, and when they make a mistake, they become discouraged and give up. There is something these individuals need to know:
PathwayConnect wasn’t designed for perfect students. It was created for everyday people who have jobs, take care of kids, or other important responsibilities. It was designed to build an educational foundation and equip students with skills to continue their academic journeys despite difficult trials. PathwayConnect is about having hope that although you aren’t the perfect student now, if you stick with it, you can become better.
The more time I spent in PathwayConnect, the more I realized the program was not created to help me get a good grade, but to help me learn, reflect, and apply the principles of improvement in my life. Sometimes, that process was difficult — even discouraging. But it was rewarding in the end because I improved my life. If I had dropped out when it got hard, I would have never learned the lessons I did.
The pattern of progression
There are many reasons why students feel pressure to be perfect. Although it is true that the Lord has commanded us to be perfect, He has also taught the importance of progressing one step at a time. He has said, “it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength,”1 and that He “will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.”2
Coursework in PathwayConnect is designed to be taken in a similar way — one week at a time. Every week, lessons build off one another to create a solid foundation of knowledge. As students progress in their courses, many find that their confidence increases and they are able to do more at a time.
Advice from a PathwayConnect student (me)
If you feel like you are struggling with your coursework, try these tips:
- Invite the Spirit to help you as you do your homework.
- See if your instructor can help you.
- Ask for advice from your classmates and service missionaries.
- Focus on your goals, your plans, and the things that make you happy right now.
- Do your best — because your best is good enough.
Far from perfect, but successful
When I finished the semester, my grade was far from perfect, but I still felt successful. I learned many lessons, gained valuable experience, and progressed both spiritually and academically. I learned it’s okay not to be perfect.
Now, I no longer worry about getting perfect grades. I worry about doing my best, and I rejoice in the progress made along the way. I found when I focus on progression, my grades usually end up okay in the end. For those reasons alone, PathwayConnect was worth it for me.
If you want to learn to improve your life despite your imperfections, then PathwayConnect is for you. PathwayConnect strengthened my self-confidence and helped me grow in ways I never thought possible. As I worked toward my goals one step at a time, I felt successful as I progressed through the program, and you can too.
This article is the fourth and final part of a series dedicated to the lessons Dannielle learned during her experience as an undercover student in PathwayConnect. In part one, she talks about friendship. Part two is about effort. Part three is about individualized learning.
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.