In an effort to increase student retention and offer students more academic guidance, this semester’s An Hour With the Eyrings, held June 14, focused on academic and career planning. The theme was chosen based on pre-submitted questions by students.
Dana Heydane, a student employee in Career and Academic Advising said “It was nice to hear President Eyring’s perspective, because a lot of the questions we heard here, we also hear from students who come to our offices. Now we can convey his thoughts to the students.”
One area President Eyring focused on was the need to gain leadership experience. He advised students to avoid focusing solely on their degree program and prepare for their future leadership roles by taking courses outside a prescribed major.
“The purpose of your education is not just to master a particular body of knowledge or to be ready for one particular type of job. Leadership requires more than just knowing one particular subject,” President Eyring said.
One student posed a question about how to explore multiple majors or career paths while not taking more than 120 credits.
President Eyring counseled students to think about the overall cost of education as well as the lost opportunity costs of entering the workforce later than they could have. Keeping this in mind, he encouraged students to come up with a hypothesis on what they believe would be the best career path for them and experiment by taking courses in a related major.
“There is a delicate balance. You don’t want to be wandering, that’s probably not so good as making your best guess and moving forward,” President Eyring said.
The Eyrings also discussed how students can find a career they are passionate about while providing for the financial needs of their family.
President Eyring referenced his Spring 2018 devotional address where he taught that job opportunities present themselves to students who focus more on people than money because they are recognized as natural leaders.
Students also sought direction from the Eyrings about enrolling in courses during their off-track semesters and the ability to accelerate graduation. President Eyring counseled students as he would counsel his own children.
“In our home, we start with the presumption that our children will be year-round students,” President Eyring said. “You should start with the question: Why would I not be a year-round student? Economically, graduating slowly is a really bad deal. Momentum is your friend.”
While acknowledging there are valid reasons that keep students from attending school year-round, President and Sister Eyring advised students to be prayerful about their educational decisions. Sister Eyring shared how she recently advised one of their children on seeking answers from Heavenly Father about educational pursuits.
“You’re going to have to listen very carefully for the Spirit to make sure that you’re making the right decisions. Take a step and listen. Are you getting warmer or colder? It’s the process of taking steps and relying upon the Spirit to guide you,” Sister Eyring said.
One student shared how he and other students walked away from the event with a fresh view of how to navigate their BYU-Idaho experience.
“I was grateful to hear that I can really explore my major and take other courses to gain more skills so that when I enter the workforce I’ll be prepared for additional options,” said Matt Astleford, a social work major.
To view the recorded event, visit www.byui.edu//student-qa/live.