Good shoes, flexibility and new friends — lessons from the first day of BYU Education Week

The campus-wide event from Aug. 15-19 has attendees from several U.S. states and countries

PROVO, Utah — Wear comfortable shoes, bring a water bottle and a light jacket, be flexible in choices for classes, talk to new people and listen to spiritual promptings — all advice from attendees at the first day of BYU Education Week.

Some instructors told the classes to not worry about writing everything down, but rather to right down impressions and thoughts that came to mind. Many teachers would pause to allow attendees to take pictures of the slides during presentations, especially when the slides included lists, advice or quotes.

Steve and Susan Russell from Herriman, Utah, ended up going to different classes on the first day. While Steve Russell said he looks first at the instructor or the topic when picking a class, Susan Russell mentioned the necessity of finding second and third choices for classes that fill-up quickly or are too far away — and being open-minded about different options.

While people streamed by them in the Wilkinson Center, Steve Russell checked name badges. “I like to see where people are from and the diversity of where they are from,” he said.

BYU Education Week attendees walk through the Tanner Building in Provo, Utah, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. | Brooklynn Jarvis Kelson, BYU

Four teenagers from different U.S. states sat together in the Richards Building for a youth class offering on Monday. They didn’t know each other before, but now they are friends.

“It’s been a blast,” said Josiah Bennett, 15, from LaVerkin, Utah. “The people are so nice. The speakers are so funny. And the Spirit is awesome here.”

Next to him were siblings Nathan and Ella Lewis, ages 16 and 15, from Surprise, Arizona. Nathan had been to Education Week in 2019 and had wanted to come back ever since.

“I felt the Spirit then, and I’ve felt it a lot more today,” he said. This was his sister Ella’s first time, and she said she was happy to be around other Latter-day Saint youth with the same standards, goals and values.

Youth like Jefferson Zabriskie, 17, from Payson, Utah, who was sitting on the other side of her. He originally just planned to attend on Thursday with friends for the youth dance. But deciding to come for the whole week has already been a valuable experience, he said.

BYU Education Week attendees listen to a presenter on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. | Brooklynn Jarvis Kelson, BYU

The teenagers emphasized sitting by someone who looked alone, or reaching out to someone new while standing in line. “Just talk,” Josiah said, and Ella added, “Because some people, that’s what they need.”

Jefferson chimed in that doing so helps make new friends, and meeting them again throughout the week is a happy occurrence.

When asked about advice for other attendees, they mentioned all the walking around campus and therefore the benefits of good shoes and a water bottle. But as some classrooms get chilly, Ella Lewis said a jacket is sometimes handy — even though the temperatures in Provo, Utah, this week are in the mid to high 90s.

Susan Russell thought of one more piece of advice: “Make a peanut butter sandwich before you come.”

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