Choosing a major from a list of nearly 200 can be difficult. However, BYU provides many resources to help students decide what path to pursue, one of which is Take a Cougar to Lunch.
TACTL is set up by the Student Alumni organization to help connect students with alumni. Additionally, the program has been a successful guide to help students select a major.
“I was trying to figure out if I wanted to emphasize in entrepreneurship,” said Brody Bushnell, a business management major from Orem. “After going out to lunch with a (graduate) of BYU, whose profession is in that field, it confirmed my decision that it was not for me. That lunch helped me to narrow it down to what I truly wanted to do.”
Even though Bushnell did not decide to pursue that career, he was able to learn more about that field in one short hour. TACTL can save a great deal of time by learning more about a subject or field without taking a class on it.
Furthermore, one direct benefit of this program is that the alumni will pay for the students’ lunch. Not only is a free meal provided, but also a chance to pick the brain of someone with valuable knowledge and experience.
“The purpose of Student Alumni is to connect students and alumni, which in turn will expand their perspective and enrich their experience here at BYU,” said Flint Gardner, president of Student Alumni and student at BYU. “Taking a Cougar out to lunch is an initial step to guide or direct students to their future endeavors.”
Gardner also coins his experience with taking a Cougar to lunch as the “pivotal point in his career path.” He was able to build a greater network as he continued to stay in contact with this business alumnus.
Gardner and Bushnell are not the only ones to benefit from this program. Many have taken a Cougar to lunch and felt that the experience was successful. Brett Gardiner, a neuroscience major from Los Angeles, explained how he was able to gain valuable experience by shadowing the doctor that took him to lunch.
“I hope more students will get involved into this program and more professionals will get involved as well,” said Gardiner. “TACTL inspired me to be more involved (as an alumnus) if I, myself, were a professional here in Utah.”
This desire Gardiner has to give back to his school is similar to the motivation other alumni have now as they participate as professionals in the TACTL program.
“I participate because I want to help give students as much direction as possible,” said Shaun McMurray, owner of Unforgettable Coating, and a BYU grad who currently participates in the program. “Life, or at least my life, is made up of a lot of trial and error. You learn good things in school, but you don’t get real-life experience. I would have appreciated the opportunity to have more real-life exposure.”
The focus of the Student Alumni organization is to get people the information to create a sustainable network, which will serve them as they choose their majors, and later become professionals after leaving BYU. TACTL is one step in accomplishing this focus.
According to Flint Gardner, the well-known saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know,” is incorrect.
“Rather, it’s what you know that gets you to know who you know,” said Gardner.