The Finish Line – A Story of a BYU-Idaho Online Student

February 8, 2013
Writer: Stephen Flanders

Bonnie SchroaderSuperman might be a comic book tale, but Superwoman is alive and well. Her name is Bonnie Schroader, a BYU-Idaho online degree student from Surprise, Arizona. As a mother of five, school board member and a full-time social media marketing specialist for Vemma Nutrition Company, it is hard to imagine Schroader having a spare moment of time. Put those three things aside and you also have a BYU-Idaho online student. How does she do it all?

Schroader visited BYU-Idaho in Rexburg when she dropped her daughter, Cassie, off for her first semester. She was convinced by a friend to attend a parent meeting where President Kim B. Clark was speaking. Schroader relates the experience saying, "The power and feeling of the words and deeper understanding of the mission of BYU-I shared by President Clark resonated in my heart and I knew without a doubt that was exactly where my daughter needed to be."  

While helping her daughter apply to BYU-Idaho, Schroader began asking questions about her own educational history. She wanted to attend BYU online, but because of a 30-credit residency requirement tailored specifically to BYU-Provo, the option was unavailable. But, while researching BYU-Idaho, Schroader learned that her one hundred-plus credits would transfer, and she would be eligible to be an online degree student.    

"As I started my own classes online, several of my assignments included reading past talks that covered similar materials about the mission of BYU-I and discipleship. I felt that same spirit and realized the importance of taking advantage of the online meetings, weekly devotionals, and other campus interactions that are now more readily available than ever as they are there to feed us, strengthen us and help us truly understand our long term goals as well as potentially answer our individual prayers."  

It is with this spirit of enthusiasm that Schroader has been able to accomplish all that she does in a normal 24-hour day. She remembers an experience in one of her online classes where she had to relate the Parable of the Ten Virgins inside of her graphic design assignment, as she is a graphic design major. The two topics were completely different, but the assignment has helped her to remember that the scriptures relate everything in our lives. She explains, "The answers are there. The guidance is there. We just need to learn to connect the two. It really strengthened me and reinforced the importance of reading and applying the scriptures to all aspects of my life."  

Armed with those spiritual experiences in hand, this super-mom, super-student, and super-professional, is able to withstand any kryptonite that may stand in her way while completing her degree. That is how she finishes her daily race. Her advice to fellow online students is simple, "One day you may have the opportunity to strengthen and support someone that just needed to know they're not alone or someone else who is struggling with the same homework assignment and you realize it's not just you. The next day someone else may know that one keystroke that solves your homework issue you've been battling for hours. I've often gotten help online from the least likely people I would have expected answers from."