Are you going to college for the first time this fall? Are you a parent of an incoming college freshman? If so, it’s a pretty safe assumption that you have questions…a LOT of them! So where can you turn to get some much needed answers?
Well, there’s no better place to gain knowledge than a book. One problem though: There are so many college self-help guides and books that it can be more than a little confusing to pick one and hope that it is the best representation of college life.
After reading more than a few of these books myself the summer before my freshman year at college, I was still filled with questions—specifically questions about Jewish life on campus. I had yet to find a college “guide” book tailored specifically to Jewish needs: Where should I go for High Holidays? Where can I find a good Jewish community, outside of the structured Hillel events? Etc.
Well, here’s some good news for the incoming class of 2014: David Schoem has answered your prayers. College Knowledge for the Jewish Student: 101 Tips (University of Michigan Press) was published last month.
“College Knowledge for the Jewish Student is a must-have guide for the new student on campus, covering everything from communicating with faculty members to where to go for help to the role of tikun olam (repairing the world) on the college campus,” said Heather Newman, trade marketing manager for the University of Michigan Press.
However, don’t expect to read all about generic college questions, like what to pack and how to decorate your dorm room. Instead you can find topics like, “Learn to Enjoy Yourself, Learning, and the College Experience” (Tip 68). Schoem addresses many of these deeper issues. He stresses that it is critical for the individual Jewish student who enters college to come intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the academic and social experience that awaits. College is a qualitatively different experience than high school, according to Schoem, and students' expectations need to be set appropriately. The transition from high school to college is so significant that it can be difficult for most students without some preparation.
College Knowledge for the Jewish Student is the perfect guide for students heading off to college with high expectations for learning, academic success, personal growth, and independence. Through lively tips and compelling student stories about college life, it offers thoughtful, practical information for every Jewish student who wants to make a successful transition.
“It’s highly rewarding reading for anyone with a student in the family,” Newman said.
So whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or sibling of the incoming college freshman, or if you’re the student yourself, there are definitely some golden nuggets of tips in this book.
One of my favorites has to be Tip 81: “Call Home: Ask for Care Packages, and Don’t Forget Your Bubbe and Zayde.” Schoem is giving all new college freshmen permission to ask for care packages from their families! Hear that, Mom and Dad? I may be a college junior this year, but these tips apply to all four years!
Schoem, director of the Michigan Community Scholars Program and a faculty member in Sociology and Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, is also a teacher on undergraduate education, intergroup relations, and the American Jewish Community. College Knowledge for the Jewish Student: 101 Tips is his eighth book.