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November 2019

Lydia Harris

Lydia Harris was a freshman at University of Nevada, Las Vegas when her best friend invited her to come to BYU-Idaho over the Christmas break where she’d be helping with the new student orientation program Get Connected. So, Lydia drove from Las Vegas to snowy Rexburg, and when her friend went to an opening fireside, she tagged along.

“The speakers were President and Sister Gilbert,” she remembers. “Sister Gilbert stood up and said, ‘I know you’re all from different backgrounds and that this might be a scary experience, but I want you all to know that you’re in the right place.’ Never before have words entered into my heart so strongly than at that point. I went home, dropped all of my classes at UNLV, and applied to BYU-Idaho.”

There was just one obstacle: At UNLV, Lydia had a job, was living at home, and still had to take out a student loan to cover her expenses. At BYU-Idaho, although the tuition was cheaper, she had to pay living expenses, and jobs were a little tougher to come by.

“I applied for financial aid, and when I got it, I thought, ‘Okay—this is doable,’” she says. “It’s been a huge blessing to have that financial help.”

BYU-Idaho has been everything Lydia hoped and expected. “I have so many opportunities here that I never would’ve had at UNLV,” she says. “Here, the professors love to teach and they want their students to excel. They just care about you and want you to get the best education possible.

“Also, I wouldn’t be as spiritually strong if I hadn’t come here. It has really grown my testimony.”