May 24, 2021
My twin brother, Scott, and I have always done everything together. So when Scott was hit with a cancer diagnosis at age 16, we moved together to a hospital in Tennessee, USA, that specialized in his treatment. I was amazed by his courage as his hair fell out and he endured major surgeries, chemotherapy, and physical therapy.
As I watched him suffer through chemo, high school became the last thing on my mind. My grades definitely showed it too — I struggled to find the motivation to study and fell behind in classes. Things like essays and math equations just didn’t seem important while Scott was going through so much.
As he slowly started recovering and scans began coming back clear, we realized that we would both need to begin applying to colleges and take the SAT/ACT. I remember opening up a huge book to study for the entrance exams and feeling overwhelmed. Everything seemed vaguely familiar but so foreign at the same time. I closed the book and walked away.
One by one, all my friends prepared to attend their dream schools, and I was increasingly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do the same. I felt left behind and inadequate — like I couldn’t reach high enough to pull myself up into a successful future.
After returning home to Georgia after Scott’s treatment, Scott and I heard about BYU‑Pathway Worldwide’s PathwayConnect — an online, reduced-cost start to higher education that taught foundational academic skills. It would include an academic and religion course each semester, and every credit would count toward a bachelor’s degree. I couldn’t sign up fast enough, especially when I learned that they didn’t require any SAT/ACT scores and there was no application fee! We both enrolled immediately.
Through the courses, my confidence began to grow. It started when I introduced myself in the first gathering and realized I was surrounded by students who weren’t competing with me, but rather cheering me on. Their support was obvious through every peer review and discussion. I loved supporting them too! Every assignment I completed with BYU‑Pathway helped me win back the confidence I had lost and made me excited for future opportunities.
After completing PathwayConnect, Scott and I decided together to transfer to BYU‑Idaho’s campus — equipped with the skills BYU-Pathway had taught us. Scott is now studying geology and is a talented public speaker, who is often asked to speak at fundraising events for childhood cancer research. I’m studying communication and enjoy working as a tutor. I even worked for BYU‑Pathway as a writing and messaging intern, where I met and interviewed students like me who are overcoming feelings of inadequacy, or even students learning a new language or discovering the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a previous BYU‑Pathway student, I connected with their unique stories and love for education and was deeply impacted.
If I had continued to believe the lie that I was inadequate, I would have missed many opportunities that have come to me as I’ve continued my education.
Most of all, I would have missed many opportunities to grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I’m so grateful for the role BYU‑Pathway has played in rebuilding my academic and spiritual confidence and preparing me for a successful future.