November 20, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

If you gain all the talent in the world, but can’t communicate that to anyone, what use will it do you?

That was part of the message of the BYU-Idaho devotional address by Justin Hodges. His talk is titled “Becoming Mighty Oaks.”

Oak trees are large trees that can be 50-70 feet tall with a 200 year or more lifespan. In his devotional talk, Hodges quoted Jacob Spori, the first principal of Bannock Stake Academy from 1888-1891, which later became Ricks College and BYU-Idaho, when he said, “The seeds we are planting today will grow and become mighty oaks and their branches will run all over the earth.”

The students here at BYU-Idaho are the seeds who will be planted all throughout the earth. To grow into mighty oaks there is a process that must be followed, which Hodges outlined.

1. Desire

2. Try things out, experiment

3. Nourish

4. Reap the rewards

To develop a career, constant care must be taken. In an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Hodges said a big piece of advice he would give students is to decide early what they are going to do with their career.

“Start early, start thinking about where you want to go, what you want to do, where is this degree leading to you,” Hodges said. “What skills and abilities do you have, and how do they apply to the workplace.”

Many students who do not do this, often, when looking for a required internship, don’t get one that would be best for them. Instead, they take whatever inernship is the easiest.

To start a path of personal exploration Hodges gave a suggestion to ask yourself six questions.

1. What are my natural, GGod-givengifts, skills, talents an inclinations?

2. What three words describe me best? And do those characteristics have application to certain careers?

3. Learn from others by conducting information interviews with professionals or alumni in careers you may be interested in.

4. Complete an internship, or two or three or four.

5. Re-read your patriarchal blessing, does it have any insights as to your career or natural abilities?

6. Seek guidance from the Spirit and a loving Heavenly Father.

Hodges said that many employers love the students from BYU-Idaho. They are smart, prepared and have character, but are too humble and cannot seem able to share their accomplishments or how they could help the company.

“As a student you need to be able to go into that interview setting and be able to articulate and demonstrate to that employer how your skills and experience are a perfect match for that position, or job that needs to be done,” Hodges said.

Hodges said that to do that you bring up past projects, experiences, volunteer positions and internships that can be used to show an employer you are perfect for the job.

“But it’s hard and it takes practice,” Hodges said.

As students go out to be mighty oaks, Hodges encouraged them to have a vision and practice telling your story.

Have confidence in yourself, because God does.

“God’s message is one of potential, greatness, ability and inheritance,” Hodges said.