At the sixth Power to Become conference, students reported that speakers gave useful insights into success after graduation.

“It succeeded quite well in laying a groundwork and giving practical ideas,” said Anthony Diaz, a senior studying psychology. “The talks seemed to build on each other and blend together well without anything being repetitive.

Speakers at the conference, such as Greg McKeown and Ernesto Lopez, encouraged students to find their own passions and focus on those above all else, a principle McKeown called “essentialism.”

“The most interesting part of it was Lopez’s discussion about his own life, his struggles and how he came to discover his own simple interests,” Diaz said.

Diaz said in the coming weeks, he hopes to put to work the things he learned at the conference as he decides what direction to take in graduate school.

Beth Vanderwalker, one of the speakers at the conference, an alumna of Ricks College, and a healthcare professional of 20 years, encourages students to start pursuing their passions by reaching out to alumni in the same field and finding a mentor.

“If there’s something that you really have a passion for and desire to do, find someone that’s doing it, especially an alumni, and ask to have a conversation,” Vanderwalker said. “Get your foot in the door, just don’t be shy. The worst thing that can happen is they could say no, and you’re no worse off.”

Christopher Galbraith, an Operations Executive at Mity Incorporated, shared advice on how to interview well once your networking has led to a job opportunity. This year was the second time Galbraith has spoken at Power to Become.

“The interviewing tips that Galbraith taught are ones that I definitely will apply in my future career,” said Nichole Cook, a junior majoring in marriage and family studies.

Galbraith shared advice about separating your skills into categories, such as management or interpersonal skills, telling a story from a previous job, exemplifying your relevant skills and telling employers directly what you will contribute to their company.

Many students shared their experience with the conference on social media.

“The only thing I felt was lacking was the ability to interact with the speakers directly,” Cook said.

A mixer was held on Thursday evening, Feb. 8, before the conference, but any student wanting to attend needed to complete a checklist of tasks. Only 100 students are allowed to attend so that they can have an opportunity to speak with the guests directly.

“I work two jobs and am taking classes,” Cook said. “I have a hard enough time getting time off to attend the conference.”

Cook said after the conference she felt better prepared to take control of her own future. Diaz said he was looking forward to using what he learned at the conference to explore his own interests.

“Be prepared to new opportunities that come your way,” Vanderwalker said. “Even if you don’t feel like you’re prepared for them, jump in and work extra hard, because you’ll learn really quick. Most people learn on the job.”