Written by Professor Alex Chediak, Thriving at College encourages and instructs the Christian young adult who is going to college or is already an undergraduate student. This book focuses on how to fully embrace your college experience for the glory of God. The entire book hinges on a single belief, “College is a temporary season of academic preparation and growth so that you can serve God more effectively with the rest of your adult life,” (page 26).
Thriving at College consists of ten chapters divided into four main sections. The first section discusses the significance of college and the importance of owning your faith. The second section addresses relationships during college with your family, faculty, friends, and romantic interests. The third section discusses personal development and character building. The fourth section addresses academics and unique college opportunities (such as internships and missions trips). By addressing the main challenges and key parts of a student’s life, Chediak gives the college-bound young adult a valuable resource for not only surviving, but thriving during and after college.
Two Huge Pitfalls Addressed
There are two very unhealthy extremes in college: living to party or obsessing over grades. Chediak takes turns speaking to both the student who may be tempted to slack off, and also the student who is excessively stressed over their academics.
Chediak addresses the slacker in all of use when he explains that play is not supposed to be a diversion, but rather refreshment so we are better prepared for our work. Throughout the book, Chediak encourages the reader to take responsibility for their actions, learn to function without the constant help of parents, and prepare to be an independent adult after college. To quote the book, “You have the God-given faculty of initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.” (page xxxvi)
As someone who constantly worries over grades, some of Chediak’s advice specifically spoke to me. One of my favorite statements was, “When you spend more time worrying about grades than working on your courses, grades have become too important.” (page 179) Chediak comforts and encourages the worrier, but also gently commends the slacker to not waste their college opportunities.
This Book Covers It All
Besides discussing the balance between play and work, Chediak reveals much valuable information about how to work with professors, from the perspective of a professor. He talks about how students should best interact with their professors, how they can actually befriend their professors without appearing to be a teacher’s pet, and some things that really drive professors crazy. He also addresses how to avoid taking classes with bad professors and how to best respond if you end up in a particularly boring class. After reading his sections about interacting with faculty, I feel well prepared to develop relationships with my teachers.
Chediak dives into the nitty gritties of learning to be an adult and life in college. For example, he emphasizes the importance of implementing a sleep pattern and developing healthy eating habits. He also explains how to have a healthy, not obsessive, relationship with technology during college. He discusses how to handle school assignments, tests, and projects without becoming overwhelmed. Strategy is important!
Of course, you cannot write a book about college without addressing dating and romance. If I were to sum up Chediak’s advice about romantic relationships during college, it would be: Do not become so obsessed with one individual that you miss out on other friendships and opportunities at college. He even recommended not becoming romantically involved during freshman year so you have time to adjust to college. Overall, this book offers solid, reasonable advice regarding romantic relationships.
Chediak gracefully covers a lot of material in a fun, easy to understand way. If you have questions about college, the answers are in this book!
Strengths of the Book
Chediak uses his personal experience to give the reader an accurate view of reality in college. For instance, he offers a sample schedule of what a week could look like for a full time college student. This schedule gave me an accurate view of how much time I will have to dedicate to studying in college.
Chediak’s writing style is easy to ready and enjoyable. The book regularly includes stories from Chediak’s experiences as a student and professor, answers to questions from college students, and fascinating factoids about the state of our society in regards to college and young adults. The print is large and the chapters are engaging. The book is 327 pages long. Over all, this is a relaxing, but engaging, book to read.
Chediak’s thoroughness is remarkable. He utilizes ample research, statistics, and stories to back up his points and themes. He is well informed and has personal experience, thus making him a fantastic candidate to discuss college.
Overall, the purpose of this book is to encourage, train, and exhort young Christian adults who are going to college or who are in college. Chediak constantly encourages the reader to fully develop their own personal relationship with God. “College is about finding your place in God’s world-not fitting God into your plans, but finding your place in his-so that you can be a blessing to others.” (page xvii) I would highly recommend this enjoyable, entertaining, enlightening book for high school seniors and college students.