Title: Thriving at College

Author: Alex Chediak (Christian college professor)

Publisher: Tyndale House

Price: $10.19 (paperback), $1.99 (Kindle)

Aim: To help students improve their college experience

Topics: Holding on to faith, managing finances, healthy relationships, time-management, godly character, assuming responsibility, choosing a major, guidance and vocation, study habits, etc.

Readership: College students, parents of students, pastors.

Style: Conversational tone without being condescending. Judicious use of illustrations, examples, and anecdotes. Lots of stimulating questions for discussion at the end of every chapter.

Brevity: I read this on a Kindle in a few hours, and expected the page count to be about 200. However, Amazon says it’s 368 pages! That’s a big book, but it’s very readable with hardly a wasted word.

Recommendation: Highly recommended for students, parents, and pastors. Pastors may want to give this book to every graduating High School student. You can get bulk pricing here.

Rating: 5/5 for relevance, usefulness, readability, clarity, wisdom, and comprehensiveness.

Additional Comments: I’d love to see a companion volume (possible title: “Thriving without college”) addressed to young people who don’t go to college. Maybe it would also help reduce the number of young going to college just because “it’s what everyone else does” and then dropping out; or ending up with $100,000 of debt and no better equipped for life. See Paypal founder Peter Thiele’s offer!

Favorite quotes

Work when it’s time to work. Play when it’s time to play. Whatever you’re doing, be fully present in it.

Worldview & Character -> Attitudes & Behaviors -> Habits & Destiny.

Whether you thrive or merely survive at college will depend to a large degree on the extent to which you assume responsibility.

If you want these kinds of friends, then be this kind of friend. Don’t wait for others to initiate. Get the ball rolling. Those who share your values and priorities will be drawn to you like a magnet. In addition, periodically take stock of your relationships. Which ones are promoting godliness and excellence in your life.

On the cellphone as an umbilical cord: Whereas one generation grew up leaving for the afternoon with a plan for doing X, Y, and Z, and having to adjust on the fly for unexpected mishaps or delays, another generation has grown up only needing to remember one thought: If something happens, call. And the very fact that you can immediately call may prevent you from developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. It’s easier to make a phone call than to engage in deep reflection and critical thinking for yourself. Yet these are absolutely necessary steps for making hard decisions with incomplete information—a crucial real-world skill.

Here’s an important principle to remember: Every public failure is preceded by private failure.

If you’re living as an adult with Mom and Dad, enjoying the blessings of food and shelter that they make possible, you should be working at least as much as they are.