Information for the parents of college students
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Book Review: Freshman Year of Life

From time to time, we like to review some of the books available for parents of college students.  There is a wealth of literature available to help parents cope with the transition to college and the changes that occur throughout the college years.  We’ve offered some lists of recommended reading, and there is something for everyone.  Visit our Resources page for suggestions of important books for college parents and their students.

Freshman Year of Life: Essays that Tell the Truth About Work, Home, and Life After College is an easy-to-read volume of essays that students about to graduate from college or recently graduated from college will find helpful.  The fact that each essay is presented by a different author means that readers hear many voices.  Students will like the brevity and personal nature of the essays.  The stories feel real.

Many books have been written for students as they transition to the college years, but less is available for students who are about to enter the world beyond college.  Equating the first year(s) out of school to freshman year of college is a wonderful analogy.  How to navigate careers, bosses, friendships and real world skills, is information young adults need – and they need to hear from others who have also struggled to figure it all out.

Because each essay is written by a different author, about a different aspect of life after college, there are many themes explored in the book.  Some will resonate more than others.  Below are a few quotes from essays with themes we especially like and find valuable, but each student will respond differently.

Parents will find that reading this book will give them a window into the world of young adults who are learning their way.  Most of us have probably forgotten many of our earlier struggles and may find the reminder refreshing.

Part of your twenties is going to be spent doing things you are bad at and don’t like so that you can figure out what you are good at and do like.  Failure is inevitable, but it’s how you learn, not how the story ends.” – Nia King

“Baby steps are the key to life after graduation.” – Nisha Bhat

“I am a full supporter of living alone if you can.  Straight out of school, there is a huge part of your brain that you’ve barely even checked out, and that’s the part of your brain that makes you do what you do when nobody else is around. . . . It’s easier to get the confidence you need in your entry-level job when you know that you are you and you aren’t trying to be anyone else.  The more time you spend with yourself, the more time you can perfect the art of you.” – Justin Warner

“ . . . as much as it might look like nothing is happening right now, as much as you might think that it’s possible for a person to be this lonely forever, in fact, slowly, bit by bit, the dust that has been gathering in your corner will clear, and one day, when you are returning to your lonely place for the hundredth or thousandth time, you will be surprised to find that the dust is gone and there in your corner of the world will be people like you who have been waiting for you this whole time as much as you have been waiting for them.” – Jenny Zhang

About the author:

The essays in this book are written by bloggers, social media gurus, journalists, TV personalities, and podcast hosts. Some have written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, Elle, The Guardian, Feministing, appeared on Showtime and VH1, started their own successful businesses and websites, and hosted popular podcasts.

The idea for this book was conceived of by Mindsumo, Inc., a community of today’s brightest college students. Founded in 2011, the MindSumo community harnesses the creativity and analytical skills of students to produce some of the most innovative and forward thinking solutions to the challenges businesses face today.

What the author has to say about the book:

Trenton Hazy, Cofounder and CEO of Mindsumo, Inc. –

Freshman Year of Life was one of the most meaningful projects we’ve engaged in since MindSumo’s inception.  When we first set out to create this work, Macmillan and MindSumo asked students what type of book they wanted most.  The overwhelming response was that students and recent graduates wanted an honest perspective on the transition out of college.  They wanted unvarnished guidance from people who had entered the real world but weren’t so far removed from graduation that their advice no longer resonated.

This book delivers just that.  It is an example of what is possible when harnessing the power of students and young professionals.  It shows that they can help the world and also help each other.

I hope the real advice contained in these pages empowered you to find your own path after college and discover the confidence to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.” 

What others have to say about the book:

“Fantastic, quick read. The stories are short, and easy to digest. Best of all, each account is extremely honest, and gives me a real window into the lives of recent grads. Definitely recommend!”

Amazon reviewer

“I really wish something like this had been available when I left college and was struggling to find my way. I am infinitely grateful that young people stepping out into the world will have this book to look to. And they will know they are not alone.”

Goodreads reviewer

“Very easy read. This book was a wonderful mixture of diverse first years after college and into the thing called “real life” we’re all told to be concerned about. The range of emotion and talented authors shined cover to cover. Each essay possessed a punching brevity and lesson – the cold and hard to the whimsically refreshing. Kudos to the creators, contributors, and audience looking to gain insight. Looking forward to a follow-on work of similar nature.”

Amazon reviewer

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