Stretching and Balancing
Mothers are famous for their ability to balance family, church and work responsibilities. Rachael Langston (BS ’18) is no exception. However in addition to her normal maternal duties, Langston also studies Nursing at BYU.
As the mother of three young children, Langston had no plans on returning to school, but when her youngest child was two years old her plans changed abruptly. “I just felt really strongly like I needed to go back [to school],” Langston describes. “It was an overwhelming feeling that I needed to apply to BYU.”
Langston had originally completed credits at Weber State University as a music major, but left school after she got married and had children. Returning to school 12 years later was exciting, but difficult. “It took a lot of readjusting because I have kids, a husband, and I still have to take care of my house and bills.” With the increased cost of attending school, Langston was fortunate to receive an Alumni Replenishment Grant to help alleviate the financial strain on her young family. Even with the financial help, Langston still battles to balance her many obligations.
So what’s the secret to her balancing act?
“The truest answer is just with God. With God’s help I can be … gently prompted to prioritize in a certain way,” Langston says. “It makes me able to do the impossible.”
At times Langston’s job really does seem impossible—especially when her family commitment conflicts with her school interests. “I think some of the hardest thing has been knowing how to balance … assignments and homework, and like knowing when to let my grade slip a little bit in order to take care of my family. I still have a good GPA, but I don’t have a 4.0 because sometimes I have to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to miss that assignment because my kids need me right now.’ I can go for an A- because it’s better to have balance at home…a B is for balance.”
Langston also volunteers as vice president of the Non-Traditional Student Association at BYU. Non-traditional students are over 30 years old and come from a variety of financial and family backgrounds. Through her volunteer work and through studying with traditional students Langston has concluded that all students, traditional or non-traditional, encounter similar stress despite differences in age and circumstance. She explains, “It’s like yoga…We’re all stretched to our own level of uncomfortable and it’s hard for all of us. But as we learn and we relax and we keep at it we’re able to [stretch] further and further than we thought we could.”
While Langston feels stress similar to that of her younger classmates, her real-life experience gives her a unique perspective in the classroom. She explains, “I’ve had three babies, so when we did our OB rotation [in the hospital], I had been in the hospital [as a patient], but I had never seen it from the nurse’s point of view.”
Langston also says that the purpose for her education may be slightly different from younger students. “My purpose is to learn…I genuinely want to know, and to understand, and not just get the A,” Langston says. “I’m not afraid to be wrong, and I raise my hand a lot. I’m wrong sometimes, but it doesn’t affect my ego as much because [I realize] I learned.”
Langston has discovered another surprising benefit of being a returning student: “I get the professor’s jokes more often than my [younger] classmates even though I’m only in my thirties.”
When she wonders if coming back to school is worth the stress, tears, and challenges, Langston recalls her initial spiritual prompting, and the spiritual confirmations she has received since enrolling. “I have moments of revelation where I realize, ‘I’m home. I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.’”
--Madeline Buhman ('18)
Many BYU students rely on gracious donations to the BYU alumni chapters’ replenishment grants. Thank you to our alumni for their extended support of current and prospective BYU students.