Marcia Watkins, like many other students on campus, is a first-semester freshman studying general sciences. Unlike many students on campus, Watkins is 76 years old.
Watkins said she graduated from high school with four goals.
“I wanted to find a young man who could take me to the temple, I wanted to be a mother, I wanted to get a college degree, and I wanted to go a mission,” Watkins said.
Watkins said she graduated high school and was offered a four-year scholarship to BYU.
“I met my sweetheart before school started,” Watkins said. “So, I gave up my college education at the time. I wanted to be a wife and mother more than I wanted a college degree at that time.”
Watkins said she and her husband accomplished two of her goals together.
“We have seven children and, I think, 29 grandchildren — that includes their spouses — and almost 20 or more great-grandchildren, and they’ve all been married in the temple,” Watkins said.
Watkins said that after all their children had grown up and moved away, she and her husband were called on a Church Educational System mission where they taught institute in Calgary, Canada.
Watkins said her husband was worried about teaching institute because he had never taught a class.
She said he told the stake president the Church was sending him to the wrong mission.
“Then the stake president told him, ‘Brother Watkins, some of these reasons you’ve been called on this mission are you’re a farmer and you’re a truck driver,’” Watkins said. “So he said, with some reservation, ‘OK.’”
Watkins said that in one of the areas they served, their stake presidency consisted of a beef rancher, a cherry orchard farmer and a government agriculture worker. Watkins said her husband’s truck driving experience came in handy on the snowy, icy roads. Watkins said she and her husband spent 30 months serving in Canada.
“In the 30 months that we were up there, we drove on roads where there were animals, and we never hit an animal, ever,” Watkins said. “They ran into us. Well, only three times, but that’s a whole other story.”
Watkins said now that she had completed three out of four of her goals, all that was left was to get a college education.
On Oct. 12, BYU-Idaho introduced Watkins as a new freshman at BYU-I, according to the BYU-Idaho Admissions Office Facebook page.
“We couldn’t be more proud of her and her decision to start working on a college degree,” according to the BYU-Idaho Admissions Office Facebook page.
Watkins said there were a couple things that she was not used to and she had to get ready for in order to go back to school.
“When I graduated from high school, there was no such thing as an ACT,” Watkins said. “You just applied, and if your grades were good enough, they gave you a scholarship, and you went to school. Now, you gotta’ go take the ACT.”
Watkins said that when she came back to school, she discovered the scientific calculator.
“I had to get a scientific calculator, which I’m learning how to use,” Watkins said. “They’re wonderful. You just push all these little buttons, get the answer and write it down.”
Watkins said one of her favorite things at BYU-I is the spirit she feels here.
“This is a special place, and I get to drive by the temple every morning and every night and feel the spirit there,” Watkins said. “It’s special to be here.”
David Magleby, one of Watkins’ professors and a faculty member in the Department of Teacher Education, said the students and faculty enjoy having Watkins in class and that she brings a light to the class.
“We love to invite her to share life lessons from her position of experience,” Magleby said. “I smile whenever I see Marcia. She has a true desire to learn. I have felt blessed to have her with us since the first day.”