Guest column contributed by Nathanael Davenport, a BYU-Idaho alumnus.
I want to send a shout-out to one of my biology professors, Gary Baird.
About 15 years ago, he called me into his office to discuss my transcript with me. Like many of his students then, I was studying and preparing to be accepted into dental school. He had looked over my grades and was concerned that I was not meeting the standards required to be competitive for admission. That wasn’t easy to hear at the time — I had been working pretty hard to pull B’s in my chemistry and biology classes.
But he also noticed a lot of music classes on my transcript and asked me about it. I told him it was something I was doing for fun; but he had seen me perform with Sound Alliance, BYU-I’s jazz band, and was not convinced that it was something that was merely “for fun.” He told me I had a gift and that I should come to terms with cultivating that gift instead of pretending that I wanted to be a dentist.
Because of the kind directness he showed me, I was convinced to change my major to music. And at the very least, it spared me from pursuing a career in a field that, I now know, would have been a miserable fit for me. While my music career has had no fairy-tale ending (yet), I am much happier doing what I love.
That may not have happened were it not for a teacher who cared enough to tell me the truth. That’s what I loved most about BYU-Idaho — teachers who care. The school is filled with them.
Nathanael Davenport currently works as an audio engineer and freelance musician in St. George, Utah. He graduated from BYU-I in 2007.