The issues are universal for college students - stress, sleep, sex, booze, food, and exercise; but finding the resources to shed light on these struggles that actually speak a student’s language can be difficult to find, until now.
Paradise Valley Community College Alumni Dave Henry and his wife Jill have written a college handbook - The Greatest College Health Guide You Never Knew You Needed - designed to help college students manage their physical, mental, and emotional health while attending school. What makes the Henry’s book unique is the anecdotal stories from current college students sprinkled throughout that book that help the issues resonate with readers; the stories become more relatable, create more magnitude, and remind the reader subtly that they are never alone in their struggles.
“Our goal was always to create a tool that can really help students avoid these very common problems and obstacles,” said Henry. “This book can really change lives. It is our hope that students’ perspective is broadened after reading our book, and it helps them to understand all of these different areas more tangibly and how they are all interrelated and really affect how one feels as a whole.”
Published this year, the award-winning book was a labor of love for the former high school football coach and his wife, a high school cross country coach. The two met while coaching at the same high school, and the idea for the book was presented to them by one of her student athletes.
“One of my wife’s students came to her with questions regarding maintaining her health since obesity ran in her family,” he explained. “We tried to find comprehensive literature to help her understand the many dynamics of healthy living. That it's not just eating right and exercising. There are so many other components that factor in. That's when we discovered that beyond the basic pamphlets that were dry and unengaging, nothing existed that framed the information so it was fun to read and interesting enough to make you want to keep reading.”
Henry said the most challenging part of writing the book was obvious; approaching the subject in a way that teenagers and young athletes would want to absorb the info and find it relatable.
“We worked with a psychologist on creating questions for a survey that would elicit raw answers, then conducted a national survey with randomized alumni. The answers we received were incredible. Some were so funny, others were gut wrenching.”
Correlating the information with creative illustrations really brought the book to life.
“It’s been a long journey to bring the book to fruition, but well worth the wait. There have been cinderella-moment highs, and some disappointing lows, but we are proud of the book and excited about what’s next.”
In June, The Greatest College Health Guide You Never Knew You Needed became the No. 1 new release on Amazon in the Student Life section, and the Henry’s are in talks with a few universities’ psychology departments to use the book in their curriculum.
“People who are getting the book are really responding to it,” Henry said, who in addition to being a published author is an award-winning editor and producer who works in film and television.
Henry grew up in Southern California and moved to Arizona in high school. After playing college football in the midwest and returning to the desert to pursue a degree in political science, things started to shift for him as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do in life. Taking a leap of faith, Henry enrolled in PVCC to take a music theory class taught by Dr. Chris Scinto, Division Chair, Fine & Performing Arts.
“I’ve only come across a few special teachers in my life. Chris Scinto is one of those,” Henry said.
Scinto’s words on the first day of class resonated with Henry, and said, “I’ll never forget on the first day of class, [Scinto] said, ‘I’m gonna teach you all the rules during the week so you can go out and break them on the weekend.’ Still to this day, I use this in my tv and film career. In freelance and contract work, each job is different. I have to figure out the rules for each network, each medium I’m working in. Trying to work backwards from day one on any job, making sure you follow the rules and giving them exactly what they need, but then also discovering where you can break those rules to make it better. This is what I do, day in and day out. Chris taught me that. He has had a big impact on my career.”
Scinto recalls Henry as a “wonderful student” during his time at PVCC. “I am not at all surprised by his success in his artistic career,” he said. “He was passionate about music and learning, he wasn't afraid to ask tough questions, and was able to expertly balance big picture thinking and concepts with small, detailed-oriented structures.”
Scinto will be conducting a virtual guest artist presentation on Zoom with the Henrys, 4 PM to 5:30 PM, September 21st. Hear the Henry's top tips for students and ask your most pressing questions. To join click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81696179383.