BYU-Pathway Facebook BYU-Pathway Instagram BYU-Pathway Pinterest BYU-Pathway Tweets BYU-Pathway Blog Feed
November 2, 2020

Never Out of Reach

After years of waiting, April finally got the chance to finish her education

Earning a bachelor’s degree was never easy for April Leslie Deal.

After high school, April completed a dual associate degree in arts and science. She planned to continue her education, but life seemed to keep getting in the way.

April and her sons, Skyler (13) and Xander (8)

First, April was offered a good job at a company that claimed they would help her finish her degree. She took the job, but they weren’t as supportive as they initially promised. She began looking at other options to continue her education, but she got married shortly afterward and her focus shifted.

The more April’s life changed, the more out of reach her education felt. Between working, raising children, moving several times, and struggling with a husband who wasn’t very supportive of April going back to school, years went by with no progress toward her degree. Then, her life changed again — but not in a way she wanted or expected.

Dealing with divorce

April’s marriage abruptly ended with divorce. “My divorce was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through,” she said. “I had a five-year-old and a newborn. I questioned everything in my life, including God. I didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Despite the questions weighing heavily on her heart, April took a leap of faith and enrolled in a local community college. As a single mother, she felt a new sense of urgency to finish her degree and provide for her two sons, Skyler and Xander.

April enjoyed her classes, but they quickly became a financial burden. “I was so worried about money,” she said. “It was super expensive!”

She had heard about BYU-Pathway Worldwide and its affordable tuition rates, but the PathwayConnect program wasn’t available in her area at the time (before virtual gatherings became available). When a new gathering location opened in Springfield, Florida, just an hour from April’s home, she knew it was the perfect opportunity. It would still be difficult to take online courses and attend the gathering each week on top of her other responsibilities, but she knew the sacrifice would be worth it.

April and her son, Skyler

Turning trial into triumph

“It just seemed like things started to fall into place for me,” April said. “I started to see little miracles and to feel God’s love for me.”

She found a member of her gathering group to carpool with each week, and she enjoyed the lessons in her courses. More than anything, though, April found an unexpected support system in her PathwayConnect gathering group.

During an especially challenging time, April emailed her group members to explain the situation and that she wasn’t sure if she could continue. She said, “Pretty much everyone replied back and said, ‘We got you. We’ll pray for you. We support you. You can do this. We’re with you.’ It was a huge support system.”

Thanks to her hard work and the support she received along the way, April not only finished PathwayConnect but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree online in business management from BYU-Idaho, supported by BYU-Pathway. After many difficult years, she achieved her goal!

“It’s so hard to put into words how much of a blessing [BYU-Pathway] was,” April said. “It was just there when I needed it.”

Receiving and giving help

April’s advice to other BYU-Pathway students is, “You do what you can do. Don’t compare yourself to what other people are doing. Just keep moving forward. Don’t give up.”

img-responsive

April and her sons love spending time outdoors!

April also encourages BYU-Pathway students to reach out to the people around them. For her, study groups with peers and the BYU-Idaho Online Student Community were valuable resources. “There were people there that were extremely helpful and encouraging,” she said. “Allow people to be encouraging to you — don’t turn away from it.”

Although April isn’t sure what the future holds, her education has given her greater confidence and preparation to face whatever comes. “The blessings have continued for me and my family,” she said. “I know that my Heavenly Father will continue to help and support me. I know that I can do it.”

Have you received support from or given support to a classmate? Share your experience in the comments below!

Comments on "Never Out of Reach"

Sherry L Louk says:

Thank you for sharing your story April. You are inspiring all of us with your “Grit to Grace” life story. I know God will not leave us alone when we do our part and seek not just Him, but the help of those around us who can support us in our own pathway. Congrats on reaching your Degree dream!

Marion Talbot says:

I had tried many times to advance my education and followed different paths but it was never successful for me until I found BYU-Pathway. Miracles happened for me with just being part of this programme because I have achieved and continue to do so a much higher ability to get through everything than I have ever done before, truly a blessed and inspired direction for education. Along the way I always try to pass on this positivity to others as I am about to finish with Pathway and move on to BYU-Idaho for a degree, all in my 60’s at home with my autistic daughter.

Ralph kunkel says:

I was 50 when I received my Bachelor of education Degree. Don’t ever give up.

Franz Muñoz Salas says:

Thank you for your beautiful story.

Ella Joy Perez Muyargas says:

Thank you for sharing your story sister April 🙂 truly there is power found in supporting each other in studies. All the best in your career and family. God bless you and your Family.

Sofia Vasconez says:

Thank you April, you are an inspiration, and I am sure if we do what God has told us to do, even if it is challenging we can face everything with more tenacity and peace

Barbara A. Castro says:

You are such an inspiration to those who are also struggling to with their education . . . your example will help them to continue despite the challenges they are facing.

Helen Keliva Ama Akagbo says:

Thank you very much sis. April for sharing this and is really a great encouragement to me personally. It is never easy to have 6 children with their responsibilities and still being enroll in school, but I have to give out this sacrifice to reach out to my dream and also be a source of encouragement and a perfect example to them. Education has no end, that’s one thing I have learned from BYU- PathwayConnect program.

Elizabeth Marinez says:

Thank you, April, for sharing your story and for not giving up your goals. I understand what you said about the support you can find in the weekly gatherings, as you had a supportive group. Mine as well have been very supportive. This year I went through a rough 2-3 months between the end of my 1st semester and the beginning of my 2nd semester in Pathway. Due to the side effects of the COVID vaccine, with everything I read, nothing stayed in my brain, I suffered from short-term memory loss, my grades were going down, and I thought that I was going to withdraw from my classes. But my group was very supportive, and they were giving me words of encouragement. Thanks to our weekly gatherings, I kept going. Right now I’m in my 3rd semester of Pathway, and I feel awesome continuing with my studies and trying to reach my goals. Stay strong and Keep moving forward.

Eva Margy Sproule says:

Thanks for sharing these stories. I identify with some of them and it gives that extra push when I am at the verge of giving up.

Margaret maina says:

Thank you so much sister April for sharing the inspiring story. I am greatly encourage by your comforting words that we should not compare ourselves to any one because we are all unique. I felt inadequate to apply for a BYU online degree course, but now I have the courage to continue. It is true that when we support others by encouraging them and praying for them, we build them by giving them the strength to carry on.

Jose Flores says:

I do believe we can move mountains in our lives, just like you did with The Lords help. Thank you for your example, and congratulations!

Toshiro Briceño Nakamine says:

Thank you so much for sharing this precious experience you had. I think you can encourge us a lot by sharing your testimony!

John says:

I like these inspired words from her “You do what you can do. Don’t compare yourself to what other people are doing. Just keep moving forward. Don’t give up.” She is so inspired thank you so much dear.

GRETZEN REYES says:

I like the grit turns to grace for April’s journey on achieving her education.

Ogaumu Leo says:

Thank you for your sharing that’s me my husband he baptized in six years and I try to make him more understand about the church things sometimes he not support me but I never give up I always do my own

Pretty Nontsetselelo Nxumalo says:

Thank you April for such motivational story. I am also having problems in my life sometimes I feel like giving up because everything seems to be very hard and impossible to do, but with God and the help I get from mentors I keep going and I know that at the end everything will be alright.

Gibran E Castillo says:

Thank you for sharing your amazing journey and your testimony of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Enita Sithole says:

Thank you so much. April’s story is uplifting, and has helped me realize that even when I feel like giving up, I should continue to push forward in faith. There is light at the end of the tunnel after all, despite the darkness that sometimes surround us!

April Deal says:

Sometimes that light seemed to get further away, but I knew it was always there. I just had to keep moving forward! I will be praying for you.

Anthony Matende says:

Thank you sharing Sister April’s experience. It’s encouraging to know that even those with challenges greater than those I’ve faced in the past can be blessed by the Lord.

April Deal says:

We are all on our own journey. Thank you!

Annette says:

I loved the inspirational insights shared by my dear sister. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I was down due to some hardship, but you motivated me a lot through your life story and message.

April Deal says:

That is wonderful to hear, thank you! Please use whatever resources are available to you, especially the Lord’s help, and keep carrying on.

Thank you, April, for your motivating experience. You have have inspired me to carry on despite the circumstances we face in life, but to stay focused on our goals. Congratulations for a well-earned degree. God bless you!

April Deal says:

Yes, please don’t stop, and ask for help if you need it. I will be praying for you!

Report Abuse

Leave a Comment

Please review our comment policy.