What kinds of educational experiences will prepare young-adult women for any future?
For women, making decisions about studying at a university, aiming for a career, and raising a family can be tough. While each person’s circumstances are different, all women can benefit from gaining an education to prepare for the rest of their lives.
But what does it mean to be “educated”?
When Elaine Shaw Sorensen was a single mother of three, a registered nurse, and a doctoral student, she wrote the Ensign article “The Educated Woman within Us.” Years later, after remarrying, Elaine Marshall taught nursing at BYU and served as dean of the College of Nursing. The Ensign article she wrote while in the process of seeking her doctoral degree is instructive.
“A woman may become ‘educated’ in a number of ways,” she writes, “from candidacy for an advanced degree to personal study in her own home.” Formal schooling isn’t a prerequisite to becoming educated. In fact, she writes, many women learn life skills that bless others without setting foot in a school. True education “is a process of life, and not merely a means to an end.”
Sister Marshall indicates that for her, the ideal of “higher” education is to acquire values and attitudes. But seeking a degree and learning the facts will not always lead to this ideal. Becoming educated also means learning life lessons, such as how to be patient despite pressure, how to build a financially stable home, and how to repair hurt feelings or a broken vacuum. In addition, women must seek understanding from the scriptures (see D&C 88:118).
A well-rounded education will bring women greater peace and security for the future. In the process, they will gain confidence that they can learn and become what the Lord needs them to be.
Decisions about work and education are unique to each woman. “Our challenge, then,” says Sister Marshall, “is to choose a path that will offer to each of us the assurance that our chosen course of life is acceptable and according to the will of God.”
—Leah Davis, Mormon Insights
Find more insights
Learn from several Church leaders about the noble influence of women in the Eternal Marriage Student Manual.
Single parents, take heart: General Authorities have inspiring words for you.
Photo courtesy of COD Newsroom