May 2, 2018
As a husband, father, seminary teacher, business owner, coach, community volunteer, and active member at church, Jeremy Prete’s load of responsibilities continued to overflow.
Due to his busy schedule, Jeremy always found himself postponing his education. In just seven years, he tried to finish his bachelor’s degree four different times, but always had to put it on hold to allow room for his other responsibilities.
When PathwayConnect opened its first gathering location in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada — an hour drive from their home — Jeremy and his wife, Sarah, saw this as a way for Jeremy to complete his degree while still fulfilling his many responsibilities. Jeremy and Sarah enrolled in PathwayConnect together, starting a journey that was different than any education they had experienced before.
PathwayConnect offered a different kind of education
Jumping back into his studies wasn’t easy. Jeremy often felt overwhelmed trying to manage his time as he worked through his courses. But as he progressed through PathwayConnect’s year-long curriculum, the program continued to instill a belief within him that if he placed the Lord first, he had time for every responsibility.
“Without the sustaining power of the Lord, I couldn’t complete all of my homework along with my responsibilities as a father, business owner, and seminary teacher. I know I did not have that kind of strength before. I tried it at these other universities where inviting the Spirit wasn’t built into the curriculum, and it just did not work for me,” Jeremy recalled. “But, as I went through PathwayConnect, everything was all laid out for me — the support network of my gathering group and service missionaries, the concept of learning by study and by faith. Finishing my education became possible because the Lord was on my team. It doesn’t work any other way — I’ve tried.”
When Jeremy prioritized including God more in his studies, he could complete his homework without missing out on the rest of his life. Sarah also saw the importance of putting the Lord first as they did PathwayConnect together.
“There have certainly been moments in our lives when the Lord wasn’t our priority, and we never could make getting an education work,” said Sarah. “But PathwayConnect has helped us make Him our first priority and everything else has found a place. We haven’t missed out on anything.”
BYU-Pathway introduced the Prete’s to a network of support
Along with the sustaining power of the Spirit, the Pretes found another unique aspect in PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho — proactive support.
“My experiences in other universities was just so impersonal. We’d sit in a classroom with 600 or more peers and we wouldn’t even know our professor’s name,” Jeremy said. “The support we received in PathwayConnect was refreshing. Our missionaries became our best friends and it didn’t stop there. I feel like I can’t fail with that much support. It was pretty much surrounding me.”
As their time in PathwayConnect concluded, the Pretes had already started getting phone calls from BYU-Idaho offering assistance in matriculation and online degree options.
“BYU-Idaho was more proactive than we were,” Sarah said. “In our other experiences we had to go to the university and figure out everything ourselves. But with BYU-Idaho online, they were going out of their way to help us!”
Completing PathwayConnect was only the beginning for Jeremy
By completing PathwayConnect, the doors were opened for Jeremy to continue on toward his bachelor’s degree through BYU-Idaho’s online program. Throughout his time in PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho online, Jeremy felt an overwhelming sense of love and support as he worked to reach his goals.
“At first, doing online courses felt like such a sacrifice, but the four-year journey has been such a gigantic blessing in my life,” Jeremy recalled. “I learned the importance of including the Lord in my studies and how to be a student again. I will forever be grateful for the lessons learned in PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho.”
In April 2017, Jeremy Prete and his family attended graduation at BYU-Idaho where he received his bachelor’s degree in marriage and family studies. With this degree, Jeremy hopes to be able to counsel with youth in his community to help them realize the value of their lives.
The Spirit Jeremy felt and the support he experienced through his journey in PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho couldn’t compare to his prior opportunities. As a result, Jeremy completed the goal he has worked on for nearly a decade, and with it, gained a deeper testimony of education and its role in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“What PathwayConnect taught us is priceless — an education we couldn’t have found anywhere else in the world… and not just academically. My husband had given up all hope of being able to acquire a university degree, but then the Lord led us to PathwayConnect. I’ll never forget seeing him graduate last weekend — it still doesn’t seem real! While we were in Idaho, we were given an opportunity to have a quick tour of the Pathway offices. It was very humbling to see how much has been done, with so little. ‘By small and simple things…’ kept running through my mind.”
Since graduating in April 2017, Jeremy and Sarah sold their business and opened a youth center in Cardston. Jeremy now mentors local teens on a daily basis. “It is a dream come true,” Jeremy said. “We wouldn’t be here without PathwayConnect.”
Learn more about the degrees and certificates offered through BYU-Pathway Worldwide.