As Brinley Marcum’s mission came to an end, her schooling began.
While serving a mission in Dallas, Texas, Marcum, a freshman studying communication, wondered what she would do when she got home since the semester at BYU-Idaho would start two weeks before she would arrive home.
As Marcum considered leaving early, she turned to her mission president for help making the decision. He told Marcum he didn’t want her to go home early but did want her to start school when the semester began.
Full-time missionaries normally aren’t permitted to attend school, have a job, or use their time to do anything outside of missionary work.
According to the Missionary Handbook, “You will also be expected to devote all your time and attention to serving the Lord, leaving behind all other personal affairs.”
Her mission president explained that he felt comfortable letting her start school early. For her last two weeks in Texas, as a missionary, Marcum had permission to take classes as long as it didn’t interfere with her missionary work.
The challenge became fitting in time for school while focusing on serving and teaching others about Jesus Christ.
Marcum scheduled all her zoom classes during the morning at a time when she wasn’t out doing missionary work. While her companion learned another language as part of her calling, Marcum did homework for six classes.
“I only had an hour to two hours a day, but somehow, obviously God is real, because I was able to get my homework done in that time slot,” Marcum said. “Which was really crazy to balance because we were still teaching people.”
In addition to her limited timeframe, Marcum used five to six hours of her day off to finish studying. She often sacrificed resting and taking with her family so it wouldn’t be a significant distraction for the rest of the week.
“I had to concentrate differently because there were a lot of different terms I didn’t remember,” Marcum said. “There was a learning curve. I am in the gist of it now but in the beginning, it was interesting to try and switch my mind to school and then to missionary work and then school.”
Marcum felt she had to relearn a lot in order to understand her classes.
Laurene Jackson, Marcum’s Writing For Communication Career teacher, explained how crazy it was finding out Marcum was a full-time missionary and student.
“It was really cool and she was very responsible,” Jackson said. “She was always up and ready and dressed and ready to go bright and early. She was always on time with all of her assignments. She did everything and I kept thinking, ‘how do you do this and be a missionary at the same time?’”
While Marcum described it as being tough to be a missionary and a student at the same time, to flip back and forth, it was a rare experience she is grateful for.