Jacob Krauza, a senior studying business management, enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and playing soccer. There is one thing he is not — a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This semester, only 0.3% of the campus student body is not a member of the Church. Members of the Church make up the vast majority of the BYU-Idaho student body, leaving students of other faiths in the minority. For Krauza, coming to campus as a student was a transition and not just because he was transferring. He said the move from North Carolina to Rexburg was a culture shock.
Church terms were foreign to him; although Krauza grew up in a Christian household, many church concepts were foreign too. Peers thought he was a member and assumed he understood, making the transition even more challenging.
“Everybody assumes,” Krauza said. “I guess if there was a hard part to it, it would be not living up the assumption.”
However, Krauza embraces the change. He has never shied away from learning about religion. In fact, he has read not only most of the Book of Mormon, but also the Quran, Torah and the Bible.
“A lot of the doctrine and stuff isn’t that far fetched,” Krauza said.
For Krauza, living at a higher standard was one of the unique benefits of studying at BYU-I.
“Realistically, coming out here has just helped me make better decisions,” Krauza said. “Because whenever you’re surrounded by people who are making good decisions, you are making good decisions yourself. I think I’ve gotten better grades because of it.”
Krauza is frequently asked why he chose to study at BYU-I.
“When people ask me why they’re just so genuine,” Krauza said. “They just can’t fathom why someone (who is not a member of the Church) would both find out about it (BYU-I) and at the end of the day be like, ‘yep, that’s the one. That’s where I want to go.'”
It all started back in high school when a friend, who happened to be a member of the Church, introduced Krauza to BYU-I. Krauza had been looking at an engineering school that would have cost him $60,000 a year; a stark contrast to the tuition rate of BYU-I.
Since he has changed his major from engineering to business, he is grateful he chose against the engineering school. “That would have been a really expensive mistake,” Krauza said.
It was more than the affordable tuition that attracted Krauza to BYU-I. Krauza appreciated being surrounded by people who will help him make good decisions, and he said the girls here have the qualities of someone he would want to date and eventually marry.
Members of the Church have made a good impression on Krauza in the past; although they may not have talked about the gospel, he remembered their examples.
“It was funny because every time I found out that somebody was (a member), I was like ‘of course, look at the way you act,'” Krauza said. “They just hold themselves to a different standard.”
Although Krauza is a minority when it comes to religion, BYU-I has become home.
“I don’t ever feel like I’m ‘cast out,'” Krauza said. “I don’t feel like an outsider.”