My JBU story: Judy Lanyon
Judy Lanyon's JBU journey began more than 20 years ago when, as a high school graduate, she considered enrolling on the main campus in Siloam Springs. "I initially wanted to go to John Brown University when I started college, but due to other circumstances, I was unable to [enroll]."
Instead, Lanyon found herself driving along the interstate in Central Arkansas in 2007 with a couple of years of college under her belt, but no bachelor's degree. When she saw a billboard about the JBU Degree Completion Program in Little Rock, she decided it was time to finish her degree at the university that captured her attention two decades ago. Lanyon started in the LR49 cohort in January 2008, and has found the Degree Completion Program to be a perfect fit for her lifestyle.
"I can't say, in the traditional college setting, trying to work and raise a family while finishing my degree would have worked as well as the Degree Completion Program did for me," Lanyon said. "Going through one class every five weeks with the same students makes it so that anyone can obtain their goal of finishing a degree."
It was that goal of finishing her bachelor's degree and the desire to show her children the importance of education that motivated Lanyon to enroll in the JBU Degree Completion Program. "The first night of class, everyone shared that they were at JBU to fulfill a dream. That was me. It took me a long time to get here. I had to show my kids that education is valuable, that it was important enough for Mom to go back and to sacrifice."
The cohort model in the organizational management program helped Lanyon and her classmates in LR49 form a lifelong bond. "You walk in with apprehension and fear, looking at this group of people they're telling you you're going to become good friends with, and thinking 18 months is a long time," Lanyon said. "You begin the program, you begin to get to know the people, and you become a family. That is more important than anything you could do, having that group of people that you get to know and can rely on, and you email and you can vent your frustrations and your fears and know they're feeling the same thing."
To Lanyon, the support system afforded by the JBU Degree Completion Program extended beyond the cohort. "The program was amazing," Lanyon said. "The support isn't just from your classmates, it's from your professors. They care about you. They're available. They will listen to you. You have staff in Northwest Arkansas that you can e-mail and their immediate response is genuine concern and genuine prayer."
While the program was academically challenging, Lanyon is happy she made the choice."Looking back on it, I wouldn't change a thing. Any sacrifice I made to get to this point was well worth it. You study hard, you keep up with the reading and the homework and suddenly you're looking at the end and thinking, 'Where did the time go?' You begin to look forward to those classes that you have with [other students], and you begin to dread the time that you're not seeing them every week and you don't have that contact. It's not only a friendship, it's a family."
Lanyon and her LR49 classmates graduated in December 2009 with bachelor's degrees from JBU.
"I'm excited to say that I achieved my dream and I've shown my kids the value of education. It's something I did for my family, but more importantly, for me. If you've never fulfilled your dream of finishing your education, I strongly urge you to enroll in the JBU Degree Completion Program. To come through a group with Christians and to know that you have that support is unlike anything else."