Book Review: How to Survive and Thrive in College

Once Upon a Campus: Tantalizing Truths about College from People Who’ve Already Messed Up (Paperback)
By Trent Anderson (Author), Seppy Basili (Author)
“Don’t expect to recognize yourself four years from now…”‘

This little 4.5-inch high, 8.5-inch wide, 272-page Kaplan Publishing book gets rave reviews from those who have read it. It offers universal, timeless wisdom about the college experience, and is available from Amazon at affordable prices.

It’s got a light, breezy conversational tone about it that makes reading a pleasure instead of drudgery. This is a crucial feature for our attention-span-deprived kids who seem to be texting with their buddies through almost every possible circumstance. Here’s an example of Trent and Seppy’s style from their Introduction:

Hi, we’re Trent and Seppy. This book will give you the inside scoop on how to survive and thrive in college. We’ve searched the country for the best advice from current college students and recent grads about how to make college fun, exciting, and rewarding. They’ve lived and learned, and now you get to benefit from their wisdom — and learn from their mistakes. We guarantee 100 percent that the advice in this book will be unbiased and straightforward and that it will help you succeed in college (if not, the book makes a great coaster).*

We’ll be popping in every now and then with survival tips: notes, suggestions, and our expert advice. Why should you listen to us? We’ve both worked with thousands of students, helping them with admissions, test prep, and financial aid advice. Our comments are based on our own experience and what we’ve learned by speaking to students and college personnel throughout the years.

We hope you enjoy this book — however you decide to use it. Now that we’ve exchanged introductions, you’re ready to discover how Once Upon a Campus…students went to college and lived to tell about it.

Trent Anderson [and] Seppy Basili

*Claims of a “guarantee” for success in college or use of this book as a “coaster” have not been confirmed by any valid authority.

Once Upon A Campus is like some other so-called college “guide” books that have rounded up actual student opinions about the college and universities they attend. Some that come to mind are from Princeton Review, College Prowler, Yale Daily News, etc.

What kinds of wisdom will you get? Here are some samples:

All roommates are weird. The key is realizing that your roommate is weird… and deciding to get along with her anyway” – Senior, Biology, Seattle Pacific University

A professor will not flunk you if he knows your name. – Graduate, Sports Management, University of Kansas

After a semester of eating in the dining hall, I quickly learned to steer clear of anything with “medley,” “hash,” or “casserole” in the name; anything “over rice;” and meat with gray sauce. – Senior, Biology, Oberlin College

I regret not changing my major. I thought I had to know what I wanted to do when I got to college, so I stuck with it even though I wasn’t satisfied… – Senior, Film, Northwestern University

While I once had a professor who knew my name and also almost flunked me, I’d be willing to take the above “wisdom” to mean something like, “As long as you can develop a reasonable relationship with your professors, show up, and make an effort, it’s quite possible that they will cut you some slack when the chips are down.” This was what I experienced when I needed to pass one of those lingering, last-semester distribution requirements, in order to graduate.

Overall, Trent and Seppy have done a fun job of putting these comments together. One of my favorite sections is “I couldn’t have made it through college without . . .” Here are some indispensable items:

– “My CD collection.”
– “The Internet . . .”
– “My five-subject notebook . . .”
– “My friends . . .”
– “Ramen noodles and Coca-Cola!!!”

So, you can see that you can get some real pearls for your pennies with Once Upon A Campus.