As a college student, you have approximately 5,000 pages of reading to do on a daily basis. This means that it can be hard to find the time to squeeze in any reading that’s not mandated by a professor.
So why are we adding to your recommended reading list? Simple: We think GenTwenty’s Guide to College Success: How to Ace More Than Your Finals, edited by Nicole Booz, is genuinely useful and can help you make the most of your college years—and get ready for what’s coming next. (In case you’re not familiar, GenTwenty is a totally stylish and savvy blog that covers all aspects of twentysomething life.)
The good news is that Guide to College Success is a quick read. Most chapters are only a few pages long (at most), and they’re organized into quick bullet points (unlike certain textbooks that seem to pride themselves on containing the longest, most complicated sentences known to mankind).
More good news: You might not even need to read Guide to College Success cover to cover. In fact, you’ll probably get the most out of it by diving into the most relevant section (Academics, Relationships, Self-Care, Student Finances, or Planning For Your Future), jumping around to one or two other sections, and then putting it away for a little while until you’re ready to tackle one of the other subjects.
If you’re serious about your job search (and we hope you are, since you’re hanging out with us here on the AfterCollege Blog), you’ll probably want to start with some of the early chapters. I’m a big fan of Step 2A: Classes That Will Help You in the Real World (Regardless of Your Major). This section has a handy chart that shows you how the skills you picked up in certain classes can be applied to your résumé and job interviews. These are some great points to include in your cover letters as well, especially when you don’t have much professional experience under your belt yet.
The entire Planning For Your Future section is also full of job and internship-related advice and covers everything from building your personal brand and effectively using social media to understanding internship etiquette and networking.
A lot of the advice is useful and immediately applicable, but don’t expect a thorough treatment of any topic—Guide to College Success is all about the quick tips and simple solutions. For example, you can find a list of sites that will help you set up an online portfolio, but there’s not much detailed description of how to actually create the portfolio or what should go inside it. (If you’re looking for that specific advice, consider checking out our post on that very topic.)
Depending on where you are in your academic life/job search process, you’ll probably find certain sections more beneficial than others. But what I love about this book is that it incorporates the wisdom of many authors who have been through exactly what you’re going through now. If you take a moment to read their thoughts, it’ll help you put things in a bit more perspective (which can be hard to do when you’re smack-dab in the middle of everything).
When you’re in college, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all your choices—which classes to take, who to hang out with, what to do over your summer and winter vacations—and Guide to College Success is like the voice of a cool older sister who wants you to learn from her mistakes.
GenTwenty’s Guide to College Success comes out on November 18, 2014. Order a copy of the print version ($12.99) here, the ebook version ($7.99) here, or try your luck at winning a free copy (until November 24, 2014) here.