Original Edition

When I was a senior in college, reflecting on my college experience as it was nearing its end, I realized I wished had been given a college survival guide tailor-made for me. So, I decided to write one, based on my own experiences, and the experiences of my friends. The result was A Girl’s Guide to College: Making the Most of the Best Four Years of Your Life, which was published in the summer of 2003, right after I graduated…

The thing about college is that you learn more outside of the classroom than you do inside it. Without a doubt, my greatest sources of wisdom were the people I met and the experiences that I had. I left college a much wiser person than I was freshman year, and wiser not because of the books I read, but because I took copious mental notes in that grand lecture room that was the college experience.

No other four years of life will compare to those four years I spent on my college campus undergoing all sorts of transformations. Every year of college I found myself changing, and always for the better. Now that I’ve entered the dreaded real world I have only learned to appreciate more the hardships, friendships, memberships, and relationships college has given me.

Yet, as much as I learned, and as much as college was indeed the best four years of my life, I don’t think I made the most of it.

Sometimes I feel a glimmer of regret when I reflect on my college years. If only I’d spent less time with my boyfriend and more time with my friends. If only I’d partied less and studied more. If only I’d made more of an effort to connect with those people that I’d only encountered once or twice. If only I’d managed my money better. If only I’d worked a little bit harder on that final project. If only I’d gotten more sleep.

But, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I appreciate those glimmers of regret because they are what prompted me to write this book. Fortunately for my current readers, I took note of all my mistakes and those of my peers, and of lessons learned from all the obstacles that college life entails. And I hope that at least one college freshman girl can learn from each one.

Even now, in a world so different from the one on a college campus, I find myself applying what I learned from my college experience. And believe me, you will too.


Table of Contents

  • Introduction—Well, it’s about time, isn’t it?
  • Chapter One—Getting Ready: The Summer Before College
  • Chapter Two—Packing Up: Getting There With What You Need
  • Chapter Three—Your New Home: Turning a Shoebox into a Palace
  • Chapter Four—Friend or Enemy: Getting Along with Your Roommate
  • Chapter Five—Why You’re Here: Choosing and Surviving Classes
  • Chapter Six—Money Talk: Managing Your Finances
  • Chapter Seven—Personal Well-Being: Taking Care of Yourself
  • Chapter Eight—Getting Social: Meeting People and Having Fun
  • Chapter Nine—Guys and Sex: The College Dating Scene
  • Conclusion—Looking back at four irreplaceable years