Ashley, here, with Chapter 5 of the What a Thing Chronicles.

I hopped on the phone last week to talk with a PelotonU partner- and our conversation stayed with me longer than most. In addition to being gracious via phone and email, she thanked me for doing the Lord’s work.

Erika had a birthday!

The Lord’s WorkThe comment caught me off guard, but more than anything, the comment humbled me.

We here at PelotonU know that we do important work, but I’ve never thought of it in that context. Earning an education is a transformative experience – what you gain is far beyond what you learn in the “classroom.” 

Many who come to faith might echo this sentiment. I was raised in a Christian home, specifically Jehovah’s Witness. Yes, the people who knock on your doors on Saturday morning. There are three generations on my mother’s side, and I was supposed to be the next one. As an adult, I’ve struggled to make my faith my own. I don’t ascribe to any particular Christian faith these days; and honestly, I feel like I might catch into flames if I enter into a place of worship. That’s how far I feel from grace. Still, I find myself making connections between what I learned in my Bible studies and seeing my mother use her faith to help carry her through life’s most challenging moments to the important work that we do here at PelotonU.

The work we do is not easy – it takes faith, hope, love, grit, humor and a peloton. Many times, a verse and a word is the one thing that keeps us going. And the verse and the word comes in different forms.

Nicole F. had this to say about not-yets: “I may not get it that day, but I will get it.”

Anthony at graduation

Wendy D. and Julia E. graciously gave student testimonials to visitors twice this week.  Just in case they were nervous, I asked them to recall a scene from the movie, Selena when her father and a promoter express anxiety regarding her ability to speak “perfect” Spanish to the Spanish-speaking media. They both believe if her Spanish is not perfect, it will be disastrous. In this scene,  always calm and charismatic, Selena tells her dad to let her handle it. Of course, she was muy awesome – as were Wendy D. and Julia E.!

Perhaps, you are familiar with the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. If not, Jesus uses this story to illustrate that no matter when you accept His invitation, the reward is the same. In my parable, Parable of the Riders in the PelotonU, I want to tell you is that it does not matter at which time you start your educational journey, the reward is the same. You accepted an invitation to earn your degree, three years ago, a year ago, a month ago or last week. The reward will still be the same.

Sarah, Jorge and Juan goofing around.

Anthony T. flew to California with his two young sons so he could attend his Brandman University graduation with fellow graduates. His reward is the same!

Being religious is not a prerequisite to having parables, folktales, fables – the stories have some truth or lesson buried in them.  You have your own collection, curated from every facet of your life. These stories help you remember who you are, comfort a friend, or to teach your children.

I have my own, too. Some are religious, and some are not. When I taught college, I always assigned a group project. People dislike them for various reasons. On one occasion, a group failed to pull it together and placed the blame on each other. I told them the story of a Destiny’s Child’s appearance on BET – the group was supposed to enter from stage left together singing, but Michelle fell. Beyonce and Kelly kept it moving, and Michelle caught up. The performance went on, simple as that. As a parable, the lesson for that group project was this: going forward, work with the group members who want to. If those dragging behind want to pull it together and work too, let ‘em in.

Here’s a list of all the “rewards.”

Deseree H. just accepted an exciting new job opportunity within her company!

Ben F. was promoted! Chris M.  and Marcelo R. completed 30 comps, and Trent A. completed 60 comps!

Alicia S. and Kelsey M. both earn the “Makin’ It Happen” award for the past couple weeks from Holly. They both have been great examples of the seriousness of our PelotonU students setting the smaller goals along the way to their degree… and then making it happen!

Jules went pink!

There are few things we love more than hearing our students share how their life plans lead to their college degrees AND how their college degrees lead to their life plans.  Danielle C. recently impressed her CCA with her research, rationale, and passion as she explained a new future goal and how earning her AA is going to help propel her towards it!

Snaps and claps for Debbie M. for the tenacity she’s approached school while also juggling many different trainings at work during the month of May.

In only the first 18 days of starting his BA at WGU, Michael Y. passed his first 2 courses!

Cyndi G. wins the PelotonU Community Critical Thinker award for asking her CCA some thought-provoking questions about PelotonU while working on a school project related to creating solutions to problems in your community.

Finally, a huge shout out to Wendy, Jules, Jorge, John V, Bethany and Clay for taking time out of their busy lives to chat with various visitors this week – thank you!

Until the next time.

Cheering for you,

Ashley, Erika, Holly and Sarah!