This review references an earlier edition of the book. How to Survive Your Freshman Year: By Hundreds of Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors Who Did, updated in 2019, is available now. Read on for a review of the earlier edition.
I was sent a review copy of the book, and for a week or so, I endured the ridicule of my friends while I read it. “Stephanie, aren’t you a few too years late in reading this?” Yes, yes I am – as a college senior now, this information is a bit post dated.
But I wish I’d had it before my freshman year.
This book is just plain excellent. It’s a collection of tidbits – advice from college sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduates, and even a few dropouts, for good measure. Due to the format, a lot of the pieces of advice contradict each other – for example, there’s one page with people arguing for and against bringing an iPod to college. I like the conflicting advice – it gives the reader multiple views and allows them to decide for themselves.
If you’re heading off to college this fall, or sometime soon after that, I highly suggest you grab a copy of the book and read it. The best part is that they put out a new edition every year, so it stays current. So if you’re not headed to college yet, wait a bit and grab the new edition the year you go off to school.
For good measure, I’d like to add some tidbits from my own college experience. These pieces of nostalgia and advice came pouring out while I was reading the book:
I loved living in my co-ed dorm freshman year. A lot of the advice in the book says to try and get a dorm with only other freshman – nothing like that really existed at my school (that I knew of), but I was definitely in one of the more mixed dorms, because I was in the honors dorm. Even though I wasn’t an honors student, I felt really at home there. We had a running joke that the honors kids were there to make the rest of us smarter, and we were there to make the honors kids dumber!
Two things that were indispensable my freshman year: a can opener and a doorstop. I was one the only freshman on my floor to bring a can opener, so I was in hot demand for a while. And the doorstop was necessary because our dorm doors would not stay open without one.
Speaking of the doorstop, here’s a big DON’T for you: DON’T be that guy that never has his door open. There’s one on every floor, and you don’t want to be him. Keep your room reasonably clean, and prop the door open as much as possible.
There are lots of professor rating sites, and they are well worth checking when signing up for the classes. But the site the worked best for me was the one that was for my school only – more people use it, and that’s really what counts. Find out if one exists for you school, and if it doesn’t, find someone who’s willing and able to start one.
A lot of the advice in the relationship chapter says to not get into a serious relationship your freshman year. I couldn’t agree with this more heartily (based on my own mistakes) and I really wish someone had said this to me before college!
Buy How To Survive Your Freshman Year from Amazon.com today! Used copies can be had for as little as $3.37 (plus shipping)!
Did you survive college? Are you surviving it now? Please share your tidbits of knowledge in the comments!