Sheryl Tania is a senior from Jakarta, Indonesia, who is graduating in computer science. Recounting her time at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, Tania shares her transformative BYUH experience, offering insights into her life, significant takeaways, and valuable advice for fellow students.
Embracing Opportunities and Blessings
Tania always enjoyed school and grew up knowing she'd pursue a college degree one day. She wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and attend his alma mater, especially after hearing stories of his time as a student working at the Polynesian Cultural Center. BYU–Hawaii was also more affordable than local universities through the IWORK scholarship. To top it off, Tania already had a sister attending the university, so it was the ideal opportunity for her parents to send her somewhere they trusted to be with someone who would look out for her.
Tania's BYUH journey began in March 2021, following a period of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. When she arrived on campus, she knew this was where the Lord needed her to be for the next few years.
Miracles and Spiritual Growth
The BYUH experience was nothing short of miraculous for Tania. Opening up to new opportunities and blessings, she learned to expect the unexpected. Among her major takeaways were the blessings of getting endowed, learning piano (an expensive endeavor back home), and mastering the Japanese language. Reflecting on these experiences, she emphasized that God is always in control and wants to bless us, turning unforeseen circumstances into miracles.
Tania shares one example of this, saying, "I never thought I'd be able to graduate with my sister. She was semesters ahead of me, so it seemed impossible at first. I had to take many credits each semester, so I feared that I wouldn't have enough time to work 19 hours, eat, and juggle everything. But in the end, everything worked out!" She continues, "Things always work out! Miracles always happen. There's no need to worry about things we can't control as long as we do our part!"
Prayer and temple attendance became essential components of her journey. Despite a busy schedule, Tania highlights the importance of making time for God, sharing that many of her answers came through prayers. Tania's achievements at BYU–Hawaii will always hold special significance because this is where she saw her testimony strengthened.
Motivation and Choices
Regarding motivation, Tania turns to the wisdom of Elder Uchtdorf, maintaining a playlist of his talks. One particular devotional address titled "Making the Right Choices" by Elder Richard G. Scott holds a special place in her heart. The talk offers valuable insights applicable to the worldly trials she encountered.
Additionally, a personal affirmation that resonates with Tania is, "Victory is my destiny," providing strength and motivation throughout her academic journey.
Gratitude to Mentors and Professors
Expressing gratitude to those who played a pivotal role, Tania specifically mentions Professor Geoffrey Draper and chief information officer, Arlene Sewell.
Professor Draper assisted with academic and professional challenges that helped build Tania's confidence in the computer science major and field. She explains, "He helped publish some of the games I created in the Play Store. Sometimes I go to his office to chat."
Arlene Sewell's kindness and willingness to listen had a lasting impact on Tania, inspiring her to cultivate similar connections with others. She adds, "Even though Arlene is relatively new here, she takes the time to get to know students. If she sees me around campus, she'll invite me to sit down and talk. I really want to be that kind of mentor one day to others."
Parting Advice and Future Plans
Addressing first-year students, Tania advises classmates to stay humble and prove success through actions rather than words. Her advice to graduating students is that networking with professors is key, given their wealth of knowledge and connections. As for her future, she looks forward to working as a product engineer in California, aspiring to contribute to increasing female representation in the industry.
In conclusion, Tania's BYUH journey exemplifies the transformative power of faith, resilience, and embracing opportunities. As she steps into a new chapter, her story inspires current and future BYUH students, encouraging them to navigate their own paths with courage, humility, and an unwavering commitment to their dreams.