The Modern Guide to College — An Interview with Dr. Kent Ingle

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As a gift to prospective college students and their parents, The Modern Guide to College is currently available for free at shop.kentingle.com!  (Pay only shipping and handling)

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with President Ingle to discuss his latest book, written to help students and their parents navigate the college journey.

What first led you to want to write The Modern Guide to College?

In my role, I see a running theme of concerns that young people have throughout their college careers, and many still have these same questions and concerns beyond college: What do I want to do with my life? How can I take my talents and transform them into a vocation? These are some of the things that haunt the majority of college students.

The Modern Guide to College was written for anyone looking to make the most of their college experience. Through this book, I really wanted to answer the many questions that not only consume prospective students and parents, but can also overwhelm current students who are still figuring out how to navigate college.

What do you find are often some other common hangups for students?

Many students are confused throughout their college careers and never want to discuss it, so they end up leaving college full of so many unanswered questions. The worst thing is that many graduates leave feeling lost and insecure in the next phase of life.

Another struggle I see students face more and more these days is figuring out how to balance school, while developing their character, their dependence on God and their relationships overall. The college experience shouldn’t be exclusively vocationally-focused. Your college career should be life-giving. Today, students are very driven and ambitious, but the demands of the world that they feel at such a young age can keep them from enjoying all that college can offer. Your college career should enrich your academics, as well as your spiritual, relational, and recreational life.

What do you think is the most confusing aspect of college that students deal with today?

I think simply the question, “What are you going to do with the rest of your life?” It’s the question every senior graduating college most fears being asked, right? I think the idea that young people are supposed to have their entire lives figured out right now is overwhelming and, frankly, outdated.

Our world is far too interesting to anticipate the remainder of your life as one predictable trajectory. Of course, some students may know they want to be a doctor or pastor for most of their lives. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be new opportunities or skills they will discover over time. If I had always wanted to hold onto my role as a sports announcer and never imagined doing anything else, I wouldn’t have had my experience in full-time ministry, and it wouldn’t have led me to where I am today. Each job and opportunity you get in life is going to shape and influence you for the next job. Being open to new possibilities just makes life more exciting.

You must have wished there was a book like this out there for you as a student. How do you feel the book would have assisted you in college?

Oh, I certainly think this book would have cleared up a lot of confusion for me. There is an acceptance for people today who do not know what they’re doing after college. There’s more room to explore, and that’s what I tap into in the book as well.

Many students also wonder about changing majors halfway through college or how to find a solid internship, which are some things I address. Even simple guides, I know, would have helped me, like how to apply for scholarships. 

I think there are a lot of basic questions I had as a student that young people just didn’t have guidance for at the time. I imagine it would’ve been a lot of weight off my shoulders to have that support in the logistics of college, and also know I wasn’t the only one wrestling with major questions. It was a huge motivation behind this book to offer students the information and moral support so many have never had.

As you have incorporated them in your life, how have the lessons from The Modern Guide to College shaped your life?

No doubt, learning how to balance it all through the years has meant a great deal to me. I think with the awareness of mental health and a work-life balance we have today, there is a greater appreciation for living an enriched and fulfilling life. From my health, my spiritual walk, and certainly my vocation, living a balanced and disciplined life may be one of the most beneficial lessons I have learned. I still continue to instill this core value into my life every day.

If you could have coffee with every SEU student on campus, what is the one thing you would want them to walk away with?

You do not have to have it all figured out right now! It is okay not to know. In fact, enjoy not knowing. Embrace the mystery and excitement that comes with having no clue what tomorrow holds. Enjoy the ride. There are too many students who are stressed out and put so much pressure on themselves, and then are unable to enjoy this time of life. This is not the season you are supposed to know everything. (In fact, that season never comes.) This is a season of life you are supposed to discover who God has made you to be, what you are passionate about, and how those passions can contribute to the world. Embrace that it is a journey, discovering what you’re supposed to do with life doesn’t happen overnight.

The Modern Guide to College is currently available for free (pay only shipping and handling) at shop.kentingle.com.

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