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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Review: "Thriving at College" (Alex Chediak)

TITLE: THRIVING AT COLLEGE - Make great friends, keep your faith, and get ready
AUTHOR: Alex Chediak
PUBLISHER: Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 2011, (368pp).

Kudos to Alex Chediak for offering such a precious resource for parents, teachers, and especially students. This book aims to help college students thrive rather than merely struggling to survive. Packed with tips and advice from a Christian perspective, Chediak covers four major areas of college life; namely, about college, about relationships, about character, and about academics. With each part, the author points out some common mistakes students often make. He then suggests a change of attitude in order for one to thrive rather than survive.

The 10 Common Mistakes
  1. Chucking one's faith aside in order to simply 'blend in' with the world;
  2. Treating college like high school, and underestimating the expectations;
  3. Not being intentional about relationships;
  4. Distorting dating and romance;
  5. Remaining childish;
  6. Being a flake; or lacking commitment;
  7. Living out of Balance;
  8. Being too passive or too cocky;
  9. Living for grades;
  10. Wasting opportunities.
Thankfully, Chediak makes clear 10 thriving principles to learn.
  1. Growing closer to God;
  2. Maintaining healthy habits and boundaries;
  3. Finding great friends and mentors
  4. Attracting the right kind of person;
  5. Becoming independent of parents;
  6. Keeping one's commitments;
  7. Balancing work and play;
  8. Selecting a major course, wisely;
  9. Recognizing that Growth requires challenges;
  10. Using one's downtime wisely.

Filled with examples as a college professor himself, Chediak adds in a regular "Question and Answer" page to share some real-life college student concerns.

Book Saint Comments
For anyone involved in college matters, this book is a crucial read for 3 reasons. Before the student chooses a college, the book contains precious advice and suggestions that range from how to choose a college, and a preparation for an attitudinal change prior to entering college. Secondly, the book provides useful information about one's calling and suggestions on what to do after college. Finally, the book provides excellent advice for college students struggling through the common challenges of college life. Every chapter is filled with practical tips and advice from a Christian perspective. It encourages without dumbing down one's fears. It guides without being preachy. It challenges without becoming too judgmental on anyone. I wish I had this book while I was in college

I want to caution the reader that this book is written from a culturally Western perspective and may not apply fully to those from other cultures. For example, in the area of living with parents, the author seems to be against the idea of children continuing to live off their parents. In some cultures, this is ok. Even in the West, due to economic struggles or unique challenges, young adults may have to live with their parents for other reasons as well. While the book is beneficial in many ways, the reader ought to be discerning as to what is most applicable to his/her situation. These weaknesses, however do not diminish the quality of the book.

I highly recommend this book not just for college students, but also for professors, teachers, parents and anyone concerned about college in general. Though written for a Christian person in mind, non-believers can benefit greatly from its wholesome, practical and winsome advice.

Rating: 4.25 of 5 stars.


This book is provided to me free from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. There is no obligation on my part to give a positive review. All opinions are freely mine.

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