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Taylor faculty write guide for millennials

BY Paige Conley - pconley@chronicle-tribune.com

Two Taylor University faculty members have released a new book aimed and helping millennials find their place in the world. 

“Ready or Not: Leaning into Life in Our Twenties,” written by Dr. Drew Moser and Jess Fankhauser, is a resource for people in their twenties to examine the complexities of a vocation. According to Moser, Dean of Experiential Learning & Associate Professor of Higher Education, the book is designed to navigate God’s calling on young people’s lives.

“It was the book I wish I had when I was in my twenties,” Moser said.

The book is born out of a series of workbooks that Moser and Fankhauser created and designed for their courses at Taylor. It includes interactive exercises that are meant to help millennials take a step in the right direction when it comes to perceiving their calling.

According to Moser, he and Fankhauser have been gathering research on vocation for five years. The pair began their research when they were working in the Calling and Career office at Taylor. They noticed many of their meetings with students were leading to deeper conversations on calling.

However, when they went searching for good resource materials for their students, they couldn’t find any. This led them to create Vocation in College, a research study that explores the influences and perspectives of vocation formation in college experience.

Throughout their research, Moser and Fankhauser have collected thousands of essays, survey data points, and themes that eventually formed the book.

“This book is for anyone seeking to live faithfully in their 20s,” said Assistant Athletic Director, Fankhauser. “It is not a prescriptive five step plan to success, but rather a practical guide for readers to take concrete steps forward in living well without feeling like they have to have their whole life figured out by the end of the book.”

In their research, they’ve noticed several challenges millennials face during their twenties. One is not having significant time to reflect on their life. According to Moser, this reflective time helps young people make progress in their understanding of vocation. However, since they are always connected to some form of entertainment it’s hard for their minds to wander and reflect, Moser said.

On top of that, millennials are faced with competing and contradictory messages from society. There’s one side where society is telling them to live it up while the other side is telling them that if they don’t have their life figured out now they are failing, Moser said.

Millennials are the most transient and mobile generation in the workforce that the world’s ever seen, Moser said. It’s difficult for them to plant roots into one place and feel grounded when they are always changing.

“We’ve had students describe their twenties as a tightrope, or riding in a car with everything outside being blurry while they speed on past to who knows where. There is a sense of rushing everywhere and the noise is constant,” Fankhauser said.

Moser doesn’t guarantee anyone will have their 10-year plan figured out after they read the book, but he does think the book helps young people set healthy goals for their life especially those who are having a hard time navigating their twenties.

“I think it will provide just enough guidance to help millennials who feel stuck to help them move in their life, specifically, with hope, purpose, and meaning,” Moser said.

According to Moser, vocation is a process and not a destination. It is about more than just your job and includes important aspects like your family, spiritual life, church life, and community.

“It is possible to live your life with hope, purpose, and meaning and the way in which you do that is through the lens of vocation and that is something you can experience here and now,” Moser said.

Similar to her colleague, Fankhauser hopes that individuals who read the book will walk away with the desire to live in the present while preparing for the future. As well as, actively and positively contribute to their family, community, and workplace.

“That they will live with a sense of responsibility for those around them and choose to use their gifts and talents for the betterment of others,” Fankhauser said. “That they will live with a sense of freedom rather than fear.”