The Freshman Survival Guide: Soulful Advice for Studying, Socializing, and Everything In Between

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  • A thorough overview of exactly how to navigate freshman year without losing yourself
  • Features a spiritual tone that interweaves ethics into practical discussions of handling homesickness, alcohol, and more
  • An excellent post-graduation summer read for rising freshmen in the mood for a soulful pick-me-up before orientation

Look elsewhere for advice on warding off the “freshman fifteen;” authors Nora Bradbury-Hael and Bill McGarvey eschew cliched conversations in favor of more philosophically oriented fare in The Freshman Survival Guide.

While most college life advice books gloss over the freshman experience with a thin chapter or two, this title milks the often mismanaged first year for all it’s worth. A classy high school graduation present, the Guide will most benefit high school seniors who want to manage their emotional journeys in college as nimbly as their academic course loads.

The spiritually sensitive authors employ honest, practical anecdotes from freshman-year veterans to support their more conservative stance on navigating the experience: facing an onslaught of issues revolving around “sex, money, and making choices,” for example, Bradbury-Hael and McGarvey suggest that first-years “live like a monk” and play it cool until they’ve found their sea legs.

Atheists and those who balk at any spiritual rhetoric may want to avoid the Guide, which gives considerable space to the voices of rabbis and other religious figures in weighing the morality of campus life. But chapters like “Go To Class!” and “Doritos Aren’t a Food Group” provide pertinent, valuable wisdom to teen readers who don’t mind waxing soulful every so often.