At the Time, It Felt Random

posted in: Uncategorized | 0
Jane Birch 

Assistant Director, Faculty Center


As an undergraduate, I didn’t choose a major until I was a senior. I loved studying everything, and so when I started thinking about graduation, I just figured out where I had the most credit hours. I ended up majoring in history and minoring in Chinese, but the choice felt rather random.

Since I loved being a student, when I graduated unmarried there was no doubt but that I wanted to go to graduate school. What better way to spend one’s time than to increase one’s education and prepare to serve better? I didn’t have a clue as to what I should study, but I did know that I wanted to study at BYU. A good friend from Taiwan (where I served a mission) was going to be in Provo as a visiting scholar at BYU for one year, and I wanted to spend this time with her. Again, this choice felt rather random.

So, I scoured the BYU campus looking for a graduate major that would seem to fit. As I searched, a secretary in the Kennedy Center was kind enough to review my credentials and give me advice. “You have no practical skills!” she declared. She was right. I loved my liberal education and had taken no thought as to doing anything practical. My conversation with her suggested I should learn something practical, like computers, and this led me to think about studying computers in education. I decided to enter a graduate program in Instructional Science in the College of Education

Little did I know what a world of learning and adventure and joy this would lead to! As much as I loved my studies as an undergraduate, my graduate education was even more amazing and mind expanding! I truly know our potential to learn and grow is endless, and the Lord treasures education and wants us to learn all that we can, whether in or out of school.

I went on to complete a PhD and am now doing faculty development at BYU. As I look back, my entire educational path led perfectly into the career I now have. In so many ways, I see that this is the life path that the Lord had in mind for me, and I’m so grateful for his guidance along the way. But it is really only from this vantage point that my path seems to serve me so well. During all the years that led to being where I am today, my life certainly did not feel so planned or inevitable.

When I was a student, many of the choices I made seemed almost random. Of course I prayed about them, but the path was rarely clear, and I often wondered if there was not a better choice. It is only with the perspective of time that I can see that very little of my life’s path was actually random. The Lord had a plan for me, and I’ve been so blessed to be guided on this path. I now know that the Lord has a plan for each of us and that each of us is guided every step of the way, even if we stumble multiple times on that path. In fact, the stumbling, the confusion, the difficulties we encounter are not side trails, they are actually part of the path. As long as we return to the Lord, all experiences will be for our good. We can trust the Lord and move boldly forward.

Share this story