By Maddie Miner
Students pour into Brigham Young University every year with plenty of good intentions — earn a degree, gain independence, avoid the infamous freshman 15 — but most students quickly discover there’s more to find at this university than just that.
A degree earned at BYU is typically a ticket to any desired career. An education earned at BYU, however, consists of so much more. With resources all around the university and Provo, students have a variety of opportunities to make sure they’re gaining a “higher” education. Temple trips, service opportunities and campus devotionals provide an uplifting element to many students’ college experience.
The Provo Temple is one of those opportunities. For many students, trips to the temple used to mean hours of driving and entire days dedicated to the trip. Now, with a temple neighboring the university, serving at the temple can more easily become a part of any schedule.
“To fit in the temple, I just schedule it into my week when I plan out my week on Sunday,” said Patrice Carey, a junior from Bountiful who has been attending the temple weekly since her freshman year. “If I get there by about 5:50-ish, it usually takes about an hour and 45 minutes to go through the baptistery.”
Often dubbed “the busiest temple in the Church,” the Provo Temple recently extended its evening baptistry hours until 10 p.m. for walk-ins. Though the mornings can be busy, Carey said she enjoys reading her scriptures during the wait and always makes her temple trips a priority.
“The thing about making time for the temple is that I don’t even consider not going,” Carey said. “It helps that I usually go with roommates or other friends. I enjoy the experience more when I get to go with people. Someone once said that you get closer to the people you go to the temple with.”
Now, as she prepares to serve a mission in Preston, England, Carey has recognized the difference her habit has made in her life and preparation.
“I firmly believe that going to do baptisms week after week was the best preparation I could have for getting my endowment because I already recognized and had a testimony of the temple’s importance in my life,” Carey said. “I think I have more peace, perspective and control in my life from going to the temple regularly.”
Just across the street from the temple is the Provo MTC, another resource for students looking for volunteer opportunities. Here, students can volunteer as ‘investigators’ for missionaries preparing to teach at the Teaching Resource Center.
Volunteers are needed to work with missionaries who speak English and other foreign languages.
“I volunteered as an ‘investigator’ for the missionaries that were going out to Russia,” said Marianna Stringham, from Salt Lake City. “I liked it because I could practice my Russian and help out the missionaries. It’s a good way to get little things taught to you, and sometimes the missionaries shared a lesson that I needed to hear.”
The purpose of the TRC is to give missionaries experience in teaching the gospel in their language, and all missionaries at the MTC visit the center at least once a week. Students can apply online to schedule a time to volunteer.
Another resource for adding more than classes to an education is the weekly BYU Devotionals and Forums. No classes are offered and all services are closed on campus each Tuesday at 11 a.m. This gives students the opportunity to watch a weekly address from Church leaders and other inspiring speakers.
The Devotionals and Forums are given at the Marriott Center, but are also broadcast to other campus locations such as the JSB auditorium and the Varsity Theatre in the Wilkinson Center.
“We’re really lucky to hear the visitors that come to BYU,” said Kendra Haynie, a junior from Cedar City. “When the prophet comes to speak I am just reminded how incredible it is to be here at BYU.”
Haynie said even when her schedule gets busy, she appreciates the opportunities that surround her as a BYU student.
“There’s so much to take advantage of here,” Haynie said. “I know that now, but I wish I realized it as a freshman.”