Meet Ashish Singh
Tell us about yourself: (degree/year, hometown, undergrad you attended, what did you do before seminary)
I currently live in Arlington Heights, IL, and I am a first year Master of Divinity student. I was born in St. Louis but moved to Chicago at the age of 5. I graduated from Loyola University in Chicago with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2000 and a Master of Information Systems Management in 2002. Before becoming a student at Garrett-Evangelical, I worked for ten years at the Walgreen’s corporate office in a variety of positions focused on marketing and merchandising analytics.
What caused you to become a seminary student and change your career path?
I grew up hearing stories about my grandparents who had converted to Christianity in India, even though they knew it would lead to persecution. My father also told me about his journey to become a pastor. Through these stories, as well as my own experiences, I realized the transformative power of the Gospel, and I was baffled by the idea that this life-changing message could mean nothing to so many in our society today. I felt God calling me to spend my life sharing the message of transformation and liberation that is made known in and through Christ.
What has been the most challenging transition from your career to being a student, and how have you dealt with that?
I can safely say that I didn’t read this much before coming to seminary! In my career, many days I would be able to come home and turn my brain off from whatever projects I had going on in order to focus on things at home. Now I am being challenged at school with so many new ideas that I have not encountered before, so it is hard to stop thinking about school. I’ve learned that at some point you just have to force yourself to take a break from schoolwork and tend to the other needs around you and within you.
What do you plan to do after seminary and has it changed since you began seminary? If so, why?
I am currently in the candidacy process working towards ordination as an elder in The United Methodist Church and feel that I am being called to pastoral ministry. Although as I talk to other students and see how many different and unique ways there are to serve, I can’t help but keep an open mind. Over a year ago I would have laughed at the idea of being in seminary, so anything is possible!
Why did you choose Garrett-Evangelical as your seminary?
Being a United Methodist who lives in the area, I knew that I had to at least check out Garrett-Evangelical when looking at seminary options. I came here for an open house with my wife, and as we walked around campus and met other faculty and students we both felt that it was the right choice.
How has Garrett-Evangelical fulfilled or surpassed your expectations as your seminary?
The level of academic quality and personal care shown by the faculty has really surpassed my expectations. Faculty members want to make sure students finish the required coursework, and that what we learn helps to shape our future ministry in a significant way. The passion they have for training future leaders is very evident because that is what they are called to do and not just what they are paid to do.
What has been your favorite class/biggest revelation during class and why?
Honestly I am not sure if I can narrow it down to just one class. After finishing my first semester, I am realizing that Christ is so many things to so many people. Reading a variety of authors and listening to lectures from different professors, it is amazing to see how different people from different walks of life have interpreted Scripture and tradition by viewing it from the lens of their own unique experience. Every time I think I completely understand something, someone introduces a new interpretation that challenges me.
What do you do to find Sabbath during the hectic school year and managing family life?
Our VFCL class challenged us to create a Rule of Life to help us try to structure our lives so that we remember to take time for ourselves and with God. Adhering to some of the rules I created is helping me to keep from losing myself in the hustle of everyday life. When life gets really busy, I have learned how to find Sabbath within the activities I am already doing. That way, time I spend with my family also becomes a time of rejuvenation and a communal time with God.
Do you have any advice for potential students who are considering Garrett-Evangelical for their theological education?
There are a lot of great options out there, but I can say that my experience here at Garrett-Evangelical has truly been an incredibly fruitful one. I would definitely advise visiting Garrett-Evangelical’s campus and speaking with some students and faculty. I have found the mission statement on the Seminary’s website to be very accurate in portraying the character of the school. I feel that when my time here is done, and by the grace of God, I will be a more effective witnesswherever I end up.