Though it might be considered the scholastic norm, not every student at BJU starts college right after graduating high school and graduates exactly four years later. Many students have to take time off for health, financial, familial or other reasons—just as BJU students Emi Bradley and Scott Michaud did.
Not far into Bradley’s sophomore year, while she was a music education major at Pensacola Christian College, she began to experience severe stomach pain and nausea. As the stress from a full course load and her worsening symptoms became harder to bear, Bradley decided to withdraw from school and return home to Michigan.
Once home, Bradley’s doctor ordered a full panel of blood work. These tests revealed the cause of her frustrating pain: though only 19 years old at the time, Bradley was at a very high risk for a heart attack.
She sat out of school for the next year and a half while she focused on healthy eating and exercise to help restore her health.
Bradley described her year and a half spent out of school as a very difficult trial in her life, especially because at the time she could not see God’s purpose in it all.
Despite the frustrations Bradley experienced during her break from school, looking back she can see how God was working. God used that year and a half to guide her to both a different college and major. Bradley felt the Lord was leading her to use her love of writing as a ministry for Him, so she transferred to BJU to be able to study journalism.
Bradley was also able to use her circumstances to help others. During her healing process, she shared her story at a teen retreat in Arkansas, leading to one girl’s accepting Christ and another turning her life around.
“Even in the midst of my questioning and doubting, it was all for a reason,” Bradley said.
One of the biggest lessons Bradley said she learned was God works in ways we can’t see.
“God really showed me that it doesn’t matter how much time passes, He’s still working, He’s still there, and sometimes He just needs us to be still, and listen for Him and be patient.”
Bradley has accepted a full-time staff position at Camp CoBeAc after graduation this May, where she will be able to use both her studies in journalism and her music background to serve the Lord.
Senior criminal justice major Scott Michaud began his college studies at BJU in the fall of 2010. After completing his freshman year, Michaud had to take some time off to work. Over the past five years, Michaud has taken a break from school three separate times to work odd jobs to pay for his schooling.
Michaud said that it’s been exciting to see God provide the necessary funds through many different jobs, some that he didn’t even apply for.
During his semesters away from school, Michaud has worked as a dietary aide in a nursing home, a cashier at Target and a farmhand on his sister-in-law’s family farm in Virginia.
Michaud said the most difficult part about having to disrupt his schooling so often is not being able to graduate with his original class from freshman year. Despite this disappointment, Michaud is thankful God allowed him to keep coming back and continue working toward his degree.
Michaud said he could have found cheaper options for college, but after graduating from a public high school he really desired to attend a Christian university.
“The environment here is so conducive to growing as a Christian,” Michaud said, “It was definitely worth it to keep coming back.”
Following his graduation this May, Michaud will either return home to work in his local sheriff’s department or find work in Greenville.