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January 21, 2020

Learning: An Eternal Shelf Life

Tanja learned that no matter where you are in life, learning is constant and eternal if you have the desire

Tanja Crouch

Tanja Crouch is a motivated and inspiring BYU-Idaho online graduate living in Franklin, Tennessee. She grew up in Oregon and met her husband, Kevin, at BYU in the ‘70s. For the past 35 years, she has worked in the music business. Her exciting career has brought her many fun experiences, including a job that allowed her to travel all over the world! She has worked as vice president of global marketing at Roy Orbison Music for most of her career. 

Tanja is passionate about music, movies, photography, and writing. She has even written several books about the music industry, one of which has been studied in colleges and universities across the United States! With her professional success and busy life, she didn’t feel a need to pursue higher education.

Tanja is a very happy person! She loves getting to know others and making them smile.

Tanja first heard about BYU-Pathway Worldwide when she was looking for a way to help her son continue his education. She planned to enroll in PathwayConnect with him, but when his circumstances changed and he wasn’t able to participate in the program, Tanja decided to drop out as well.

Fortunately, the service missionaries for BYU-Pathway in Tanja’s ward convinced her to attend the first PathwayConnect gathering. “I decided to go ahead and go, and I loved it!” she said. She remained enrolled and decided to complete the program. 

PathwayConnect changed Tanja’s life in many ways. She created wonderful friendships with her classmates and grew closer to the Lord. “I’m more conscious of bringing Heavenly Father into every aspect of my life,” she said. 

Tanja and her husband, Kevin, when they were in college

Participating in PathwayConnect also motivated Tanja to continue her education. “[PathwayConnect] instilled in me a desire to learn and be curious,” she said. This desire inspired her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in web design and construction online through BYU-Idaho, presented and coordinated by BYU-Pathway. 

Tanja loved her experience in BYU-Idaho online classes. She said, “I had really incredible experiences of learning by the Spirit. Everything, no matter what class I took, we could always relate it back to the gospel. I love that mindset.” 

Tanja graduated with her bachelor’s degree in April 2019. She is currently working toward a master’s degree and reenrolled at BYU-Idaho to pursue another bachelor’s degree in family history. “I missed BYU-Idaho so much, I reapplied!” Tanja said. She hopes to become an online instructor for BYU-Idaho one day. 

One of Tanja’s favorite things that she learned in both PathwayConnect and her online degree is the Learning Model. “It changed my life,” she said. “I learned how to study. I knew I could rely on the Spirit for religious study, inspiration, and direction, but I never made the connection of employing the Spirit for secular learning. Heavenly Father has all knowledge, so of course He will help us. Anytime we learn something, religious or secular, we are becoming more like Him.” She now teaches the learning model to her seminary students to help them learn with their studies and gain a love for learning.  

Tanja with her bachelor’s degree

Tanja also loves a quote she learned from Elder Dallin H. Oaks: “Learning has an eternal shelf life.”1 She put it on a sign that hangs in her office to remind herself of this principle. No matter how late in the game it might seem, she won’t quit learning.

Pathway has opened up so many possibilities for me,” Tanja said. “I am thrilled and grateful that Heavenly Father inspired this program. I gained a love for learning, developed new skills, and discovered talents. I pushed myself to the limit and beyond at times. I made friends that I hope will be in my life forever, going forward. Most importantly, I strengthened my relationship with my Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ.”  

What has inspired you to keep learning? Share in the comments below!

1. ^ Dallin H. Oaks, “Learning and Latter-day Saints,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009

Comments on "Learning: An Eternal Shelf Life"

Tereziah says:

I really am inspired by the testimonies of people whose lives have been changed by Pathway, and it gives me the strength to carry on and help me to brighten my future.

TanjaCrouch says:

Thank you, Tereziah, and to everyone who posted here. It truly touched my heart. Tanja

George Aalbregtse says:

Growing my testimony every day has inspired me to continue my learning – I have gotten way more out of this program than I ever could have imagined.

Carlos says:

Very neat, thank you.

Omofela Anthony says:

I am in my third week, and I am beginning to fall in love with the decision I made. From the devotional to your success story, it’s adding value to my mindset, the pursuit for growth. Thank you Tanja for being a pioneer. I am optimistic that I will tell a story someday.

Life is full of surprises; we never know what’s around the corner. That’s my thought after reading “Learning: An Eternal Shelf Life” about Tanja Crouch. What a fascinating life Tanja has lived, and she has accomplished a great deal according to Jess Scogin’s story, yet … Tanja was willing to grow and challenge herself when it would have been easy to retire after her success and relax. Remarkable! I too rejoice in Tanja’s efforts to be “more conscious of bringing Heavenly Father into every aspect of my life,” and feel it has made all the difference in mine. This story touched a chord in me, as I am an older student and really felt lessons were best given to young folks and not seniors. But … Heavenly Father had a different idea! Tanja, continued success on life’s journey!

Lauren Conrad says:

Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Cheryl! I know the Lord will always bring new opportunities and blessings into our lives, no matter our age.

Thank you Tanya and Cheryl for your perseverance in Pathway! I too am an older student, and I was first inspired by a friend who, at 57, decided she needed to go to law school…and did! She has been an extremely effective mediator since…now in her seventies…I am grateful for her and both of you, too! I learned so much the first semester about myself and the steps to take through Life Skills as well as the incredible Religion studies…I couldn’t give those up. I am looking at Family Studies, although I’m still not sure that’s the direction to take, but I’m willing to stay with BYU-Pathway and seek guidance by the Spirit to help me learn what is in my future.

Johana says:

This helps me to keep moving on, thanks! 🙂

Johnson Akpama says:

I am in my third week. I appreciate the decision I made to enroll in PathwayConnect because I am learning new things, both spiritual and secular things, which is already helping me. Thanks for that testimony about PathwayConnect.

Nsikak glory says:

This testimony is inspiring! It has taught me to keep working hard and hoping that someday I’ll be of great impact to my family and friends around the world.

Dora Nakami says:

As for me, I love her experience. What inspires me now to keep learning is that the Lord knows more of what I can become by learning, and if I don’t learn, I’ll be stopping the Lord’s work from happening, perhaps the things I should have done.

Gabriel Dominic says:

This is both inspiring and encouraging to me to know I can still make progress despite the hurdles and challenges I am currently experiencing.

Tariro Baudhi says:

Learning by the spirit is such a wonderful experience.

Ikada Monday Desmond says:

Tanja’s testimony is both inspiring and motivating. From that her experience, it’s clear that commitment and prayers can keep us on the right track.

Anthony Matende says:

Tanja’s experience is an encouragement to me.

Lambert says:

Wow! Diligence plus encouragement helped Tanja along the way. Sometimes, what people need to continue in this world with so many voices is to learn how to listen carefully to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Thank God for the good people Heavenly Father has placed around us and Tanja during that time she was about to give up. I am grateful that I am never alone in this path.

Sulaiman Saifu Deen says:

One thing I learned from Tanja’s story was that she pushed herself to her limit and even beyond, and also made friends that she hopes will be in her life forever. This is one big lesson to learn from Tanja’s story – perseverance and making right choices will help us adopt a growth mindset and achieve our goals.

Steven Mammy says:

Wow, I feel extremely pleased and motivated from your story, Tanja. I am into the third week of my PathwayConnect program, and everything I’ve learned from the previous gathering is having a hint to your story as well. Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

lynn says:

Thank you, Tanja. I believe there are times when our faithful intentions to help another end up being our own benefit instead. Upon joining Pathways, I did not realize there were so many other reasons to be part of this program than just getting a degree. -Lynn

Junisa Kamara says:

To start with, I want to thank Tanja for her inspirational words. I am deeply enjoying PathwayConnect already as a new student. I have learned from Tanja that no matter the age, when you have the desire to learn, you will learn, and every additional education in your life must add value for you. Whatever you do, the presence of God around you is paramount.

Rachel Smith says:

Tanja! Congratulations on your graduation! I don’t know if you’ll remember, but we were in English class together and I was always amazed with your gift of the written word. This is a great article, spotlighting a great lady! You are a rockstar!!! I am still in school and continuing to learn. I completely agree with your philosophy and am so grateful for the Pathway program, BYUI matriculation, and the spiritual backbone that is captured in the learning model at BYUI. Great read!

TanjaCrouch says:

Hi Rachel,
Wow, I love seeing people who I have been in class with; such a small world, even online. You were a big help to me in that class, your comments helped me improve. I remember you being a strong writer and very good at analyzing what would help make my writing (and others) better. That’s a great skill. Thank you. I hope you are well and close to graduation too.
Tanja

Shiang-Lan L. Brinkley says:

Thank you. I am still in the exercising faith process, but getting to love the learning model and the great structured learning.

Dcns Jane Fagbohun says:

Hallelujah! Glory to God. I am greatly inspired by Sister Tanja’s testimony.

I am encouraged to know that I am not alone in my quest and hunger for higher education. Thank you so much for this story of success. I shall tell my own story too.

Maria del mar Gonzalez says:

Thank you for your history. It was very beautiful, and I want to continue to improve and progress with the language, because I am from Cali Colombia.

Onwughalu Loretta Ngozi says:

Believing that I have the ability to do it with the help of the Holy Ghost and the testimonies of others who have done the Pathway program has been my inspiration for learning.

Sarah Nakanwagi says:

I am thrilled that my mindset is already changing from being a perfectionist to being a progress learner, knowing now that learning is a process and we have to evaluate others according to their effort and progress, but not performance.

silethemba says:

So inspired by your testimony Sister Tanja. I believe that one day I will be sharing my testimony.

Dennis says:

Fantastic story…

rebecaloblog says:

Very inspiring. I remember seeing many of her projects being displayed in the instructions sections for ART230.

TanjaCrouch says:

Hey Rebecca, Thank you for remembering me! and for your kind comments. Tanja

It is always great to read such stories as Tanja’s. It is inspiring and uplifting! Thank you so very much.

TanjaCrouch says:

Hi Everyone,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind comments. To those of you who are starting, trust me, it will be worth it; hang in there and pray whenever you get discouraged or feel like you just can’t remember or understand the things you are learning. Our Father in Heaven knows everything and He will help you in your quest to become more like Him–which we do, each time we learn something new. Isn’t that amazing? When I learn math, I am becoming more like Him, who knows everything and who will help me learn.

To those who are farther on the path, again, when you get discouraged, pray for help. I remember a coding class where I had been up all night writing code to build a website. I could not get this one piece of Javascript to work, which caused other things on the page to not work. I was tired and afraid about the looming deadline. I went and prayed and pleading for Heavenly Father to help me. When I returned to my desk, into my mind came this line of script. I went back and looked at it and realized I had put a colon instead of a semi-colon. That one comma caused the page to not work; when I fixed that one character, everything worked. I wept; I felt my Heavenly Father’s love. What is important to me, is important to Him, especially when it comes to learning. I had similar experiences throughout my time at BYUI; I still do. Because of Pathway and BYUI, I learned to truly trust in the Lord; to trust help would be there for me when I needed it–always after I had done all I could. I know that will happen for you too, if you trust and make Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit partners in your education.

Hugs and well wishes.
Tanja

Jennifer Harris says:

What a wonderful reminder – What is important to me, is important to Him.

I love Tanja’s enthusiasm and energy! She is so engaging and truly delves into the knowledge that we are so fortunate to learn. She is passionate about learning and becoming more like Him. In our class on Pakistan, she embraced the information, but more importantly the people of Pakistan. She did video posts and would wear headscarves and bring the information to life. Her seminary students have a real treat being taught by Tanja!

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