Book Review: Thriving at College

Thriving at College: Make Great Friends, Keep Your Faith, and Get Ready for the Real World! by Alex Chediak is styled as something like a chat over coffee sharing what the author wished someone had told him when he was in college. The goal is to help students make the best of their college years and then be ready to go forth as responsible Christian adults. He covers a great variety of topics, including:

How high school is different from college

Assuming responsibility

Considerations in choosing secular or Christian, large or small schools

What you will likely have to deal with as a Christian in a secular college

Good sleep and eating habits in college

Being busy vs. being diligent and fruitful

Considerations in making a schedule

Extracurricular activities that enhance your college experience

Friendships and dating

How to best interact with professors

Becoming independent from parents

Personal finances

Work ethic

Balancing work and play

Recognizing your calling and choosing a major

Getting the most out of your classes


Preparing for tests


Owning your faith

Here are some of the standout quotes:

“Real tolerance [is] vigorous disagreement combined with a gracious demeanor, respect, and kindness” (p. 17).

Re the charge that Christians want to force their beliefs on others: “True Christianity cannot be spread by force because it requires individuals voluntarily declaring their allegiance to Jesus Christ” (p. 17).

“Many of the deepest joys require saying no to lesser pleasures that would only kill your ability to enjoy the real deal” (p. 18).

“Every one of [God’s commandments] was meant to help us avoid destroying our capacity to enjoy the greatest pleasures” (p. 20).

“Resolve now not to go there. But don’t just say no; say yes to something better. Decide now to form strong friendships with like-minded peers who share your ideas of a good time” (p. 20).

“Is God going to occupy a compartment of my life, or will He be central?…Don’t squeeze God into your plans; find your place in His plan” (p. 26).

“College is a temporary season of academic preparation and growth so that you can serve God effectively with the rest of your adult life…a springboard into all that goes with responsible Christian adulthood” (p. 26-27).

“Those afraid to risk failure seldom have to face success” (p. 75).

Re time management: “Whatever you don’t rule will rule you” (p. 124).

“While recreation is the purposeful attempt to restore or refresh creative energy, entertainment is often more on the mind-numbing end of the spectrum, possibly failing to rekindle mental energy” (p. 188-189).

I appreciate the emphasis and balance in this book as well as the plethora of useful information. I like very much that he reviewed information at the end of each chapter and at the end of the book. Nonfiction books are getting away from that, but it’s very helpful in pulling the basic points together, especially when you’ve read a chapter in pieces over several days.

I might disagree just a smidgen with a couple of nuances in a couple of discussions (not worth mentioning but for those who would wonder, one was whether God has “a” will for your life as opposed your choosing what you think best under His guidance; the other was in the discussion about becoming independent from parents. Overall he made valuable points in both discussions). But I can highly recommend this as an excellent resource.

(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)

7 thoughts on “Book Review: Thriving at College

  1. Pingback: What’s On Your Nightstand: November 2012 « Stray Thoughts

  2. I read this sometime near the end of my college career and was very impressed by it. Like you, I appreciated the balanced nature of the book – I also thought the topics very applicable. I definitely recommend it for college bound high school seniors.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Thriving at College |

  4. Pingback: Fall Into Reading 2012 Wrap-Up « Stray Thoughts

  5. Pingback: Books Read in 2012 « Stray Thoughts

  6. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: December 1, 2012 | Semicolon

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