Ultimately each student needs to take responsibility for his own education. No one can be forced to learn. For Pearl, who attended a school using the A.C.E. curriculum in Uganda, motivation to complete her work was lacking.
“Daydreaming was my favorite pastime,” Pearl said. “Truthfully, I was never truly present in my Learning Center. Daydreaming helped me dissociate and take solace in an imaginary existence that was somehow better. Then it hit me that I was spending most of my existence in the future and not in the present.”
As she evaluated her future, Pearl realized that unless she became more serious about her work, she would not finish in a timely manner.
“Over time, I realized that if I did not do the work, it would still be there waiting for me the next day. This became a harsh reality for me because I was getting older, but my PACE numbers remained stagnant. I decided to calculate exactly how many PACEs I needed to graduate high school. It shocked me to realize that I had over 300 PACEs to go and no motivation to get there. I thought about simply relaxing without carefully planning until I remembered that if I didn’t plan, I could end up graduating at age 32, bringing my kids to church-school with me. That thought terrified me. It made me realize that my choices each day mattered. That was my wake-up call.”
When Pearl started using the tools and methods within the A.C.E. program, she saw the value her education could bring. The goal cards, writing exercises, individualized learning, and strong emphasis on grammar helped her earn several scholarships and attend a university in Switzerland.
“A.C.E. taught me to set realistic and attainable goals on a daily basis,” she said. “The system made me learn to hold myself accountable for incomplete goals and to plan for the long run. I used those skills to get on the Dean’s List semester after semester. The system made me goal-oriented and dependable. By my second year of university, professors were requesting to hire me as a teaching assistant to train other freshman how to prioritize and handle university-level work. An education system that trains students to teach themselves is indelible and indispensable.
“Learning through university lectures was difficult at first. I had to adjust to the idea of being fed information instead of reading and understanding it for myself. This eventually became the cornerstone of my university success because I did not struggle to grasp concepts. I had unknowingly developed important study skills while I was in high school. These are skills that I have passed on to other university freshmen. My objective was to show them the importance of critical reading, critical thinking, and self-teaching.”
Not only did Pearl learn academic lessons through the A.C.E. curriculum and program, she also gained spiritual insight.
“There is a lot of talk about what A.C.E means for the Christian faith and how it helps build a foundation for a Godly lifestyle,” she said. “I’m here to tell you that going through this system does not mean that you will live life like Ace and Christi. You are a real person, a flawed human being. Your faith and your journey will not be cookie-cutter perfect. But you do have the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the unconditional love of God. He will hold your hand through every milestone.”
Through her faith and confidence to learn, Pearl overcame the challenges of studying in a foreign country at the age of 19. She wanted to be challenged to the point where she could “experience God in a new way.” Through her trials, she had experiences she will never forget.
“God got me through that first night of anxiety when my mom left. He got me through that first semester to where I am now in my senior year. He led me to incredible people I never thought I’d meet. He traveled around the world with me and made my dreams come true. That was what I’d always wanted, a journey with God; an uncomfortable, unpredictable, yet beautiful journey. Three years later, I learned to speak French and Italian. I became friends with people from all over the world.”
Pearl’s passion for learning and new experiences led her to start her own business before she had even graduated from the university. Despite a worldwide pandemic and the challenges of studying in a foreign land, she said God gave her the confidence to again step outside of her comfort zone.
“I have found a way to combine what I’m most passionate about into a business that generates revenue in a COVID-19-infested environment. My education got me to this point.”
She added that when you combine a desire to learn with hard work, “God will satisfy you; He will surprise you.”