Make the Most of It by Barry Corey

When people find out I work in higher education, they typically love to share their lengthy opinions. I have heard every theory about why higher education is a scam, charging an arm and leg while preaching a progressive agenda with climbing walls and lazy rivers included, yada, yada.

What I usually don’t get are questions. It is very rare for someone to ask me thoughtful, engaging questions about the state of higher education. But once in a blue moon, I get asked my favorite question: what advice would you give to a new college student?

On the surface, college is a transactional exchange: I pay you (a lot of) money, sit your classes, and in four years you give me a degree. If this is how you look at college, you will be disappointed. College is a great investment of your time and money. Studies have shown over and over again that getting a college degree will set you up for more success in your career.

But is a selfish investment really the foundation of our colleges? I don’t think so.

The biggest investment in my life right now is my kids. They cost a lot of time and money. They have cost me hours of sleepless nights, school and daycare is far from cheap, and they eat all my delicious food. From an investment standpoint, kids do not show much return.

Is that not a crazy way to look at your children? Children are not a selfish investment, they are the center of my life. They bring me joy, hope, and meaning. Things we simply cannot quantify.

And this is how we should look at our education. “College is more than grasping what you are learning. It’s about being grasped by it.”

Make the Most of It is a great book for students starting their college journey. Barry Corey, current president of Biola University in La Mirada, California, has great experiences working in higher education and working alongside of students. I think any young student would benefit from this book. Now will a college student actually read this book and heed its great advice? That’s a good question, but I think there is enough solid wisdom in this book that something will stick and help student on the long, life-giving journey of higher education.

Here are a few more nuggets of wisdom from this book:

“…Develop the internal character for the long game rather than the external image for the short game.”

“Choose inspiration over efficiency, discovery over velocity.”

“Doubting is not a weakness but a strength, as it compels you to seek truth.”

“The mind’s arrogance can suffocate the heart’s humility.”