‘Freshman Survival’ shows what the textbooks won’t

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For their book “The Freshman Survival Guide,” authors Nora Bradbury-Haehl and Bill McGarvey of BustedHalo.com interviewed professors, administrators, campus ministers and students alike in order to give incoming freshmen a primer on practicalities they’ll need to know their first year of college — and also to help them tackle the bigger questions. We went to McGarvey with some questions of our own.

What’s the biggest mistake freshmen make when they start college?

They assume that everybody is going to be trustworthy, and a few weeks or months into the semester, you might realize that person you befriended can be not really worthy of your trust. You spend 18 years getting to this point and you have friendships and networks with people that know you and who you are: Don’t just chuck them out the window because you’re in college and everything is exciting and new.

Why did you choose to include matters of faith in your book? A lot of college guidebooks don’t.

That’s kind of the reason why. There’s a lot of books out there about getting into school and making yourself a success in college, but there was nothing in there that dealt with the whole student. These books almost seem to assume that these students were a collection of brain cells and hormones. College kids are less religious but they’re definitely getting more spiritual. 

What should every freshman know upon starting college?

You’re spending good money to get an education and there are enormous resources at your fingertips. You’re gonna run into challenges, but there are places to turn and people that are there to help you.

Can you expand on the book’s Web component?
   
I came from a Web background, and I wanted to make sure that our book reflected the way younger college students read and interact with the media now. Throughout the book there are chapters where you can go online and get special information or contribute, but there’s also this thing called the Interactive RA [where] resident assistants from around the country volunteer to take questions.

Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithatMetro.


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