As I entered the BYU-Idaho Center for the inauguration of President Clark G. Gilbert, the excitement of visiting Apostles and Prophets seemed to electrify the whole auditorium. I made my way to the seat reserved for me by a cute usher, sat down and took in the whole scene. Neither myself nor the attendees were prepared for the important lesson President Gilbert and his family would teach us in his short tenure as president. Change should be embraced.
In the past eight years, President Gilbert has embraced change repeatedly. Prior to 2009, President Gilbert was working for BYU-I as an associate academic vice president. That changed when he was named CEO of Deseret Digital Media in 2009 — requiring him and his family to relocate to his new job in Salt Lake City, Utah. Six years later, the Gilbert family found themselves back in Rexburg as their father was named the 16th president of BYU-Idaho.
The changes have not stopped there. After serving for two years, President Gilbert is faced with more change with his newest appointment to president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide and moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, again.
So what’s the lesson in change? First off, change is inevitable. It does not matter if you are a professor at Harvard, or a student at BYU-I; you will see change. Second, the Gilbert family has shown how you can happily accept changes to come.
Statistics have shown that college graduates will face change once they enter the work force.
According to CareerBuilder.com, an online survey Harris Interactive conducted in 2013, found that 47 percent of college-educated workers said their first jobs out of college had nothing to do with their major. Thirty-two percent said they never found a job related to their major.
I would venture to say President Gilbert probably was not planning on being a professor of entrepreneurial management at the Harvard Business School when he graduated from BYU with a Bachelor’s degree in international relations.
Students of BYU-I should be prepared to branch out in their career fields and accept any exceptional opportunities that come their way because, such as in the Gilberts’ case, it will lead to more exciting opportunities.
The trick really is to see change as an opportunity. Without that mindset, change is difficult to smile at.
Recently, I encountered a major change in my education — literally. I changed my major from communication to psychology. The impression came as a surprise. A seemingly unwanted one at that, but I have chosen to look at it as an opportunity.
As I’ve undergone the varying challenges of completely changing my major, I have kept in mind the example President Gilbert has set throughout his career.
Taking the knowledge I have gained from past experiences, I am building on it with new experiences. With this as a background, I have been able to view this change as an opportunity for growth and, in turn, have smiled the whole way through.
Among the many lessons the Gilberts have taught us about life and family, we would be wise to pay attention to how they have embraced change. Every student is at a different stage in life, and each new stage will bring change. I hope that I can be at least half as ready and willing as the Gilberts have been to accept any change or challenge that comes my way.