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Teaming Up For Success

Ethan Tunnicliffe thought higher education wasn’t for him until he met his mentor


Growing up in York, England, higher education had never been a priority for Ethan Tunnicliffe. While serving in the London South Mission, Ethan met Sarah, his future wife. He then moved to the United States so they could get married. It didn’t take long for Ethan to realize he would need a degree if he was going to be a good provider for his future family, so he decided to enroll in BYU-Pathway Worldwide.

Ethan’s mentor, Bev Whiting
Ethan’s mentor, Bev Whiting

On the opposite side of the world, Bev Whiting grew up in Los Angeles, California and eventually made her way to Rexburg, Idaho with her husband and children. Her career path led her to her current position as a mentor for BYU-Pathway. As a mentor, Bev is trained to assist first-semester students in PathwayConnect who come across roadblocks in their educational journey.

As Ethan began his first semester in PathwayConnect, he wasn’t sure if he’d enjoy his schooling. To him, getting a degree was something he had to do, and it wasn’t something he was excited about. After a couple of weeks into the semester, Ethan received a phone call from Bev. As they discussed the goals Ethan had for his future and how he would reach them, his perspective changed.

The key to success

Whenever Bev works with a student, she likes to focus on their goals and purpose. She explained, “When [students] connect their purpose to their day-to-day life and they live an intentional life, that’s what helps them succeed.”

Bev with her husband and three children
Bev with her husband and three children

Ethan felt the effects of discovering his purpose when he met with Bev for the first time. “It was exhilarating to figure out [my purpose] for myself…” he said. “I think for me, the most rewarding experience was that first conversation where she helped me evaluate and examine myself.”

Bev was able to help Ethan realize why he was pursuing higher education, which made school a lot more enjoyable for him. Over time, the goals Ethan set for himself were what helped him get the most out of BYU-Pathway.

“You know yourself better than anybody else,” Bev shared. That’s what she likes to focus on with her students. She knows they have the answers they need for success, so she helps them find those answers.

Why settle for average … when you could work harder and accomplish the best?

A change of perspective

Ethan and his wife, Sarah
Ethan and his wife, Sarah

In the beginning, Ethan felt it would have been easy to pass through his education without getting much out of it. Once he met with his mentor, his perspective changed. “When I spoke to Bev, I really found the desire to just do the best that I can…” he said. “Why settle for average just because you don’t like something — or it’s not your favorite — when you could work harder and accomplish the best?”

Bev loved working with Ethan because he was so willing to think things through, find his purpose, and get the most out of the program. “He was ready to allow someone to help him self-evaluate,” she said. “When they’re ready — it’s a whole different ball game than when they’re not.”

As Ethan worked through his courses and followed his mentor’s counsel, he discovered that BYU-Pathway had so much to offer. He found a community of people who really cared about his success. The more people — his mentor, instructors, and others he would meet along the way — reached out to help him, the more it inspired him to do the same for others.

Success with a mentor

Ethan and Sarah outside
BYU-Pathway has been a great blessing for Ethan and Sarah.

We can each find people who serve as mentors in our lives. Trusted friends, peers, and family members can help us set goals and evaluate areas where we can improve. By doing so, they can help us apply the principles of setting goals and finding purpose in the things we do each day.

To any student who may doubt if BYU-Pathway is for them, Ethan said, “I just really want people to get involved, because I feel [BYU-Pathway is] a hugely, hugely beneficial program and course, and will give an outstanding degree if you work for it.”

Who has been a mentor in your life?