Sugarpeach readers, let me bring to you an interview with Alex Chediak! Alex is the author of Thriving at College, a book I reviewed yesterday. Thriving at College was not only written to help students avoid the 10 most common mistakes college students make, but also to point students towards developing their God-given potential so that Jesus might be magnified in them.
In the preface of Thriving at College, you wrote that your “college years could have been better” and that you wish you can give your younger-self advice. How did you go from your college-self to a person who writes advice for college students?
Many intervening years passed in between. 🙂 It certainly helped that I could look back at my own experience, the example of my friends, and now my students, to see what worked and what didn’t!
Based on what I saw and experienced, I decided to focus on four key areas in the book: College Matters, Relationships Matter, Character Matters, and Academics Matter. The first one is about maintaining your Christian faith and adjusting to the ways in which college is different than high school. Some people do this well—they grow in their faith and have a wonderful time developing great relationships, but they don’t grow academically. Others maintain their faith, and focus on their academics, achieving excellence in the classroom, but don’t invest as well in their relationships or in the development of their character.
I wrote Thriving at College to help students do all four of these well: To not just keep the faith, but to dig deeper than they ever thought was possible. To not just stumble upon a major, but to wisely discover their calling – what God wired them to do to make a difference in the world. To not just have a blast with friends, but to cultivate lifelong relationships of substance with those who most spur them on to trust and love God. To put away childishness, to make wise choices, and as missionary William Carey once said, to “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” In short, to make the very best of their college years.
In your opinion, what is the most prevalent mistake college students make? Why do you think so?
Well, Thriving at College actually unpacks ten common mistakes, the flipside of each of them being a principle to enable them to thrive at college. Wondering what the ten mistakes are? Check out the Table of Contents. Is there one mistake that is most prevalent? In my experience, different students are susceptible to making different mistakes.
In Thriving at College, you give plenty of advice to college students. Which advice do you think is most important for students to bear in mind while in college?
One biggie is keeping everything in perspective and God at the center. Even among committed Christians, maintaining balance is a continual challenge. There are so many healthy, non-sinful recreational opportunities, but God still calls us to do our homework and study, too. It’s good to work hard in school, but it’s also important to form solid, godly friendships, and to not become obsessed with getting high grades. Some are inclined to one extreme, and some to the other. It’s important to cultivate an understanding that both work and recreation are gifts of God – each to be enjoyed in appropriate doses. (Note: This hyperlink is to an excerpt from Thriving at College, Part 3: CHARACTER MATTERS, Common Mistake #7: Living out of Balance)
You enjoy writing to young adult audiences. What do you think of the current young adult reading culture?
Well, I am impressed that young adults are so adept at reading text messages! Aside from wall posts and texts some probably don’t read enough. I’ve heard some surveys that say that college students today rarely dive into good books – that their attention span is too low. Nicholas Carr, for example, makes this case in The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains. The Internet is great, but it can be a massive distraction from actual studying. Studies have shown, for example, that college students who regularly use Facebook often (but not always) have lower grades than those who rarely or never use it.
Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself?
When I was a senior in college a couple friends and I invented a new kind of bullet-proof vest. It was for a class project. Later, for fun, we proved that it worked and the school paid for us to file a Patent with the U.S. Patent office.
Anything else you would like to say?
Thriving at College is a book about launching into adulthood with excellence to the glory of God. Merely “surviving” college with your Christian faith intact is too low a goal. We should aim to thrive in college – to grow in our faith, to form great relationships, to develop academic skills, and to prepare for a lifetime of service in whatever God calls us to do.
Thanks, Alex, for the interview! For more information about Alex, his books or his blog, visit his website at www.alexchediak.com. You can read my review of Thriving at College at Review: Thriving at College by Alex Chediak.
Giveaway has closed
And now for the giveaway! Tyndale House Publishers has graciously agreed to provide a copy of Thriving at College to one Sugarpeach reader. US and Canada only. Leave a comment below to be entered into the giveaway. Please do not include your email address in the comment (it might open you to spam) as I can see the email addresses of all commentors. The winners will be drawn using random.org. This contest ends on May 27, 2011. The winner will be announced on May 28, 2011. If the winner does not reply within 4 days, another draw will be made.
For additional entries (optional, a total of 3 additional entries allowed)
-Subscribe to my blog using the ‘Email Subscription’ form at the top-right corner. Use the same email address you will be using to comment. In the comment, tell me that you have subscribed to my blog. A subscription counts as 1 additional entry.
-Comment in Alex’s blog. Include the link(s) in your comment here. Each relevant and appropriate comment (don’t just comment for the sake of qualifying for an extra entry) counts as 1 additional entry.
-Post about this giveaway in your blog, Facebook or Twitter*. Include the link(s) to your post(s) in the comment. Each post counts as 1 additional entry.
*For Twitter posts, use this: @EvangelineHan I entered to win a copy of Thriving at College by Alex Chediak. http://t.co/HkgWCwC