May 18, 2020
Long before they’d heard of BYU-Pathway, Jason and Jeanette Hayes met at a regional stake dance in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Jeanette had just graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s degree in communications, and Jason was working toward a bachelor’s degree. Their first dance led to a first date, which led to more dates, which eventually led to marriage in the San Diego Temple. They now have three beautiful daughters: Adalyn (6), Isabelle (4), and Elisabeth Anne (1).
Jason’s journey to a degree
Both Jason and Jeanette love to learn, but school became a bit of a bumpy road for Jason. By the time he and Jeanette were married, he had attended four different colleges! He’d earned a lot of credits along the way but was frustrated with the time and money he’d spent without achieving his goal.
In 2014, Jeanette’s father mentioned that he was going to attend an informational meeting about BYU-Pathway Worldwide. Jeanette felt a strong prompting that Jason should also attend. During the fireside, Jason was interested in BYU-Pathway but also wary. “I was fighting against it because I thought I’d be starting over, which I had done four other times,” he said.
However, Jason learned that almost all of his credits would transfer to a BYU-Idaho online degree program after PathwayConnect. With that and BYU-Pathway’s affordable tuition, he decided it could be the perfect opportunity to finish what he’d started.
PathwayConnect blessed the Hayes family in more ways than they thought possible. During his first semester, Jason and Jeanette were living in Southern Utah. They were running a business, taking care of a new baby, and Jason was going to school. They were extremely busy, but they sacrificed time each week so Jason could make the three-hour drive to attend his gathering.
“The baby and I would go with him,” Jeanette said, “and it was really cool to have time every week during that insanely busy semester for the three of us to just talk about important things together. It was a big sacrifice of time when we felt like we didn’t have any time to give, but it was a really big blessing in return.”
After PathwayConnect, Jason continued to a BYU-Idaho online degree program, presented and coordinated through BYU-Pathway. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management, with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. Getting his degree helped him earn two big promotions at work, and he is now earning an MBA from the University of North Carolina, the top online MBA program in the United States.1
Both Jason and Jeanette credit BYU-Pathway for helping Jason get where he is today. “He hadn’t realized how much he loved school until BYU-Pathway,” Jeanette said. “There’s no way [he’d] be continuing on or have these opportunities. None of it would have happened.”
“I liked learning, but I didn’t like school,” Jason said. “It was nice to feel like the professors cared about me. I liked my classes. It was just an all-around awesome experience!”
“Spiritually and emotionally, BYU-Pathway was so incredible for our family,” Jeanette said. “I saw the spirit it brought into our house. How thankful I am for PathwayConnect and BYU-Idaho!”
Paying it forward
Jason and Jeanette sought ways to show their gratitude. As they were considering how to give back, the thought of becoming a PathwayConnect online instructor crossed Jeanette’s mind. She had a master’s degree in education and wanted to help students like Jason achieve their goals.
Jeanette applied, was hired, and has loved her experience as an online instructor! “It’s been just as amazing as I thought it would be,” she said. “These students blow me away! Their resilience, their strength, their testimonies, and just everything about them is incredible.”
Jeanette especially enjoys watching her students overcome personal and academic challenges. “I know, no matter how hard it looks or how dark it gets, the Lord is 100% going to be there for you,” she said. “We really and truly believe this program is deeply inspired. It blesses you in every way. You can do it!”
To current and future BYU-Pathway students, Jason promises, “The struggle is worth it. It will pay off.”
What made you want to be a BYU-Pathway student? Comment below!