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Student Spotlight

Brook Lindsey MDS Student Spotlight
Student Spotlight:  Brook Lindsey, MDS Online Graduate

How did you find the MDS program?

Finding Multidisciplinary Studies was my open window when all my doors had closed. I had been attending BSU since 2013 working hard to keep my grades up, going after a degree in elementary education, finding 40 plus hours to work two different jobs, and feeling good about making my way. Then, one night, I found myself in the middle of someone else’s explosive rage and the reality set in that I had somehow become engulfed in a personal relationship which had become a mess. The night I ended up locked in a room hiding from a boyfriend who had become abusive, I realized my life had spun out of control. It was the week of finals and I wondered if I was going to lose everything. I had to escape the abuse, somehow keep studying for finals, move out of an apartment while avoiding an abuser, and find a way to salvage my college education and my dream of becoming a teacher. I knew I had to leave Boise due to the situation, but the thought of giving up my dream of graduating from BSU was devastating. He had already taken so much from me; I didn’t want him to take my dream too. In between my finals, I called different Arizona schools and different BSU advisors. Despite 113 credit hours, many in education, it seemed like every door was closing on my college degree unless I stayed in Boise, which I simply couldn’t do. And then I found that one person who listened and truly cared. She was a saving grace who, the day before school was released for Winter break, took time to stop and help me find a path. She introduced me to Multidisciplinary Studies and for the first time in weeks, I had hope again. She had looked beyond the moment and the mess. She had seen my dreams, my good grades, my dedication, and my passion. She was a lifesaver when I needed it most. With her help, I was directed to the MDS program. Sighing a breath of relief for the first time in a week finally came once the advisors in the MDS program heard my situation and reached out to help. I needed to leave Boise, yet they helped me find a way back to my dream–a way to graduate from BSU. Switching to the Multidisciplinary program gave me a path to complete school, and though it would not be in education, it was still a path to becoming a teacher–just along a different road. I could be in a safe space and finish my degree. So my path to the MDS program was certainly not planned, but it was an open window when the doors were closing in on me and I was about to suffocate.

Why did you choose MDS?

MDS became my salvation in a difficult time where I thought all hope may be lost. The idea that I didn’t have to give up my dream was an amazing healing power on my road to finding myself. I choose MDS because it was my way of seeing beyond the horizon. It was my hope.

How would you say that MDS is different from other degree programs?

MDS is completely different than any other degree program. This degree allows you to choose classes that will benefit and interest you the most. The advisors are amazing at helping you find your way to graduation and are always reaching out to help support you. I feel like the MDS advisors actually care about me being successful.  It actually feels that my success is her success–like she has some skin in the game, like she is truly going to catch me if I start to fall. That is such a huge difference from any other program. I know in this program I matter to them.

Did you take your courses online or on campus?

I have taken all of my classes in the MDS program online, which has been a challenge. Some days I find it hard to log on and set time aside to learn. However taking classes online is wonderful when you have a crazy busy schedule. You have to be determined and set time aside for learning even when you don’t want too. I feel like online courses are a lot harder than in person. Working online, you have to be fully engaged. You can’t just do seat time and listen, or pretend to listen. You are accountable for being engaged in not only your assignments, but everyone else’s as well. You don’t have that face-to-face interaction or that carved our time to be in class. It takes lots of hard work, patience and determination!

Why was it important for you to finish what you started?

School has always been a top priority of mine. An education is one of the few things that no one can take away from you. What could be a more precious or important gift? Up until college, schooling came so naturally. I worked hard for my grades but enjoyed spending eight hours each day learning. Once college came, my world flipped. It was nothing like I expected and learning didn’t come as naturally as it had before. In fact, I had to push myself each day. Continuing my education became a challenge. I moved away for college and didn’t have the guidance of my parents. My first semester away, my mother was diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancer, causing me to miss many days of school for travel back to Arizona. This made keeping my grades up even more difficult. A year later I became a part-time student and by the year after, I had changed my major twice. My schooling was a confusing mess. However my dream of graduating never changed. I didn’t care how long it took as long as I finish my education and had that degree in my hand. Whatever life throws at me, I will always have an education as my umbrella. When everything blew up in my life, I realized how close I was to losing all of the hard work I had put in. I realized just how precious this gift truly was. And in all the darkness, when I finally found a ray of light, a sliver of hope, I was determined to hold on to it and get to the finish line.

Did you do an internship as part of your degree? If so, describe your experience.

I am currently doing my first internship and will do another this summer. For my internship, I interned at a middle school in an in-school suspension classroom. This has been such an amazing experience. At first, I just thought it sounded interesting, but the more I worked with the students and got to know more about this program, the more I have fallen in love with it!! Originally I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but now I want to be an elementary teacher who works with at-risk kids or in an in-school suspension environment where I can really make a difference with kids who need someone to care about them. Seeing the difference I have made in lives and the improvements students have made in just a few months has been phenomenal!

What are your plans after you complete the MDS degree?

After I complete the MDS degree I will pursue becoming a certified teacher and work toward my masters’ degree in education. I also am working on a plan to be in the classroom teaching by August of 2017.

What are you passionate about? How have you been able to incorporate your passions into your degree?

I am passionate about teaching, making a difference, and helping others. As a teacher, I can accomplish all three of my passions. I love this degree because even though it is not the degree I originally had in mind, it still allows me to customize my degree plan to fit my end goal. Most of the classes I am currently taking can be related to my future career and even implemented in the classroom.

What advice can you give to a current or future MDS student?

Just keep pushing yourself to do your best work and take an interest in all of your assignments. In the MDS program, it is truly up to you to be successful. No one is going to let you zone out and then slide through based on a good test score. A lot of what I have learned in this degree I can already see I will use in education multiple times in my life. It can be challenging to stay focused on completing your degree when you have different challenges in your life. Balancing is definitely a skill that has to be learned. The MDS program is a lot of hard work, but it affords you an incredible opportunity to direct your own learning in many ways. I have been able to customize what is truly going to enhance me as a person.

What was your greatest challenge during the MDS program and how did you overcome it?

My greatest challenge was when I had just begun my MDS degree. I was in a new degree with unfamiliar classes, taking my first semester completely online, starting my first internship, had just moved to a different state, and had to find a new job. There was a lot on my plate and a lot of new things I had to figure out besides school. I had to learn how to be a multitasker and how to balance a plateful. I also had to learn to be patient with other online classmates. I like getting my work finished early–I’m definitely not a procrastinator. Because much of the work is teamwork, I had to realize not everyone is like me, and I had to learn to work with different personalities, including those who are procrastinators.

What extracurricular activities were you involved in?

While I was on campus at BSU, I was involved in InterVarsity, a Christian group on campus and also started a bible study in my dorm. Other than that, most of my time was spent working two or three jobs at a time which didn’t leave much room for extracurricular activities.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am extremely passionate about helping others and making people smile. I am very outgoing, energetic, determined, and comical. Before college, I would spend my summers traveling around California and Arizona building and repairing houses for the less fortunate. Now I love to travel and have been all over, though I do hate spending time in the car! In college, I started my own bible study and became passionate about living a Christian lifestyle. I enjoy snowboarding, long boarding, spending time on the water, working out, and surrounding myself with friends.