January 8, 2014
Writer: Caleb Trujillo
Although he has been done with his Pathway studies for a few semesters, not a day passes without Isaias Zaldivar reflecting on all he learned from his Pathway experience. In fact, Isaias credits Pathway for much of his success and progress, both in his career and in the gospel.
Isaias, age 42, lives in Metepec, Mexico, and works as a computer programmer and software developer for HSBC, a large global banking service. Metepec is directly east of Toluca and lies roughly 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Mexico City.
Isaias' Pathway journey started with a simple presentation at his nearby stake center in Toluca, Mexico.
"The stake president did all he could to ensure that Pathway was a possibility for the members. Everything seemed well organized and the study of English was what really caught my attention," said Isaias.
He understood that one of the purposes of Pathway is to prepare for continuing education and a possible degree. However, at that time Isaias was already studying in Toluca and working toward his bachelor's degree. After pondering whether he should also participate in Pathway, he figured that additional education and the emphasis of English would greatly help him in his career.
"There is a huge difference in the quality of English education from Pathway compared to the schools here in Mexico. The English we learn through Pathway is technical, not casual. We learn the different rules and grammar. This has greatly helped me because my job uses a lot of technical terms," said Isaias.
In fact, this technical training of English has recently opened doors of opportunity for him.
A few months ago, Isaias and his coworkers were successfully wrapping up a team project. A meeting was held to celebrate the completed goal and to discuss future projects. Isaias' manager stepped forward and explained the basic details of one of the new assignments. As he asked who would be interested in taking on the task, many eager hands shot into the air. The manager then explained that the person to accept the assignment would need to have a strong grasp of the English language because he would be working with those who didn't speak Spanish. At this news, more than half of the hands slowly lowered. The manager then went on to stress that the person selected for the assignment should not only be able to converse in English, but also speak and write technically because the nature of the project required specialized knowledge in both language and job performance. With this requirement, Isaias' hand remained alone in the air. This opportunity has been a building block in his career and has given Isaias a great boost of confidence.
However, this isn't the only instance that English has helped him in the workplace. During the beginning phases of this assignment, Isaias was contacted by another high-quality company. They were interested in his newly acquired skills and capabilities.
Isaias with some of his nieces and nephews: Lissette, Sophia, Paola, and Miguel.
"I was interviewed in English by people from India. I could not rely on Spanish and they could not rely on their native language. English was our only common ground. It was a truly unique experience," said Isaias.
The company offered Isaias a great position. However, after much prayer and because of other responsibilities at home, he decided to stay in Metepec with his position at HSBC. These experiences have given Isaias more confidence moving forward, and he now feels even better prepared for the next opportunity that presents itself or the next obstacle to overcome. Isaias also has a goal to be accepted into the Master's of Business Administration program at BYU's Marriot School of Management. He is currently studying to take the GMAT, a test that many universities use to gauge a candidate's writing, reading, and quantitative skills.
Temporal blessings are only a small part of what Isaias has gained from his Pathway experience. He frequently reflects on the different life lessons learned in Pathway. One in particular still stands out vividly.
"I remember an example comparing our life's progress to a rowboat. We need two oars to progress properly. One oar is our spiritual knowledge and service and the other oar is our temporal knowledge and education. If we try to row with only one oar, we will only go around and around in endless circles. With a proper balance of spiritual and temporal dedication, our rowboat—our lives—will advance at a quick and steady pace. That example has always stayed in my mind," said Isaias. He also shared that he uses this metaphor to properly balance his responsibilities at work and his Church callings.
Reading scriptures and other Church publications in English has also helped Isaias. Because the scriptures speak in an elevated language, Isaias admits that it is now much easier for him to understand the standard and casual flow of normal conversation. The elevated language of the scriptures has also helped him understand technical English terms at work.
Isaias is always quick to recommend Pathway study to his friends at Church. He is confident that Pathway can help anyone in many different aspects of life.
"Pathway helps you realize and fulfill all the different roles in your life of work, church, and family," said Isaias.
To those who are just starting their Pathway journey, he advises to keep working according to the plan. He also suggests that students complete assignments precisely according to the instructions and to spend the recommended time on each task.
Isaias in his home town of Metepec, Mexico.
"You must give the proper time and dedication to what you are learning. Without it, you will lose out on the education experience. Procrastination is a killer of learning and progress," said Isaias.
To those who already have or are about to finish Pathway, Isaias urges to keep working hard, set goals, and seek to apply what you've learned.
"I believe that applying the lessons we have learned is the true mark of proving our knowledge. If we cannot apply what we have learned, there is still work to do," said Isaias.