The GI Distinction and Successful Perseverance - Natasha Byrd 

Recent UVU graduate, Natasha Byrd, shares her experience participating in the Global/Intercultural (GI) Distinction. In her final GI designated course, Natasha described her development as she faced the challenges of parenthood, looming graduation deadlines, familial loss, and more…


“During that class I was not expecting to reflect on my own life experiences and the type of culture I grew up with and how that has evolved over time to who I am today and ways that I can still continue to grow in my awareness of other cultures and religions. This class was one I looked forward to every week despite having a heavy load in my school schedule plus working full time, raising a child, having COVID, and losing a family member in one semester alone. I ended up finishing that semester with straight A's to get my first 4.0…”


One may wonder how being involved in the GI Distinction could affect ones accomplishments. Wouldn’t adding yet another task make a busy student more overwhelmed? The answer depends on the student and how they define and achieve their own success. Robert Collier describes success like this, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”


An appropriate expression for Natasha’s experience. Students of all degree’s, career aspirations, home lives, and histories embark on a difficult road when entering the walls of Utah Valley University. It is this additional traction in their lives that help those, like Natasha, thrive.


Often when asked to describe why someone is a “hero”, the common response is; because they never let the trials of their lives define or desecrate who they are. Hero’s go on to do exceptional things despite challenges.


The world changes, daily; humanity changes, hourly; and if students can learn to be retrospective and enduring, they can change indefinitely, for the better.


“My class got to learn that everyone's first instinct is to place judgment and a story on others, we were able to learn different concepts on how we recognize those thoughts and reflect on how we have grown up, and have adapted knowledge along the way of what we were not taught in our homes that were influential for our life.” - Natasha Byrd


This is just one example of how taking the extra time not only to attend another class, complete more assignments, and spend additional energy can bring one increased success.


Success in things such as: expanding ones worldview, getting to know those with whom one interacts, professionally engaging within the work field, and enjoying the journey of self-edification.