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Book Review: Gradspot.com’s Guide to Life After College by Chris Schonberger with Stuart Schultz and Tory Hoen

Wouldn’t it be nice if college prepared us for life? At least in high school we can learn how to cook. What does college do? Well, yeah, there’s the social aspect. After four years you should pretty much know what is and is not acceptable at toga parties. But how many of your fellow students are going to remind you to clean up all those revealing Facebook entries, not to mention the photos you’ve posted. Really, does a potential employer or landlord need to know everything about your past? Have you looked at your profile lately?

 “Cleaning up your on-line identity” is only one of the useful, important things that must be done as one enters the world of so-called adulthood. For that and a whole slew of other important tips, there is Guide to Life After College, a hefty tome that could serve as a resource for anyone who wants to appear grown up.

While the advice is far more reliable than what you’d get at a beer blast (is there still such a thing?), it’s not quite the stuff Father O’Brien, Rabbi Goldstein, or a recruiting officer might give. Maybe — just maybe — a Unitarian minister would tell you to hold on to your student ID after college to take advantage of student discounts, but it’s not so likely that he’d fill you in on all the ways to justify this scam in your own mind. However, once I saw all the discounts offered students, I was pretty much on my way to the registrar’s office.

Serious subjects like housing, buying a car, getting credit, health insurance, and the various options of each are addressed. Many graduates are haunted by the specter of student debt. This economic concern is tackled along with other things we don’t really like to think about like taxes, as well as investing, saving, and — ouch — budgeting. Eye-openers like “Top Ten Things Grads Waste Money On” help to put financing a lifestyle into perspective.

For those whose immediate goal is employment, Guide to Life After College advises on the different types (e.g., full-time, free-lance), what to expect at and how to dress for an interview, using social networking to aide your job search, and proper office etiquette. One interesting tip is to dress for the job you want not for the job you have. If your goal is to be an executive, but you’re working in the mailroom right now, do your best to look professional. Will anyone notice? Experience shows us that everything gets noticed in the work environment — and an awful lot of it is remembered.

 Job seekers will also appreciate the list of websites and tips for using Twitter that are offered. There is an abundance of information on how to make the most of the internet in your employment search, and this info isn’t just for recent college grads. Actually, Guide to Life After College could have been titled How to Be Responsible for Yourself, but that’s not such a catchy title. Much of the advice, tips, and information offered is universal for anyone who is starting out, or making a new start.

 From must-have travel tips to how-to’s on stocking a kitchen and pantry, Guide to Life After College has answers for most of life’s little (and big) puzzles (e.g., should I go to grad school?, how do I make macaroni and cheese?). It is the manual for modern living and much more important than that stack of paper you get with a new PC. Written by twenty-somethings who are all twenty-first century graduates, it mixes humor and irony (i.e., reality) with the solid information it imparts.

Bottom Line: would I buy Guide to Life After College? Yes! It is the ideal gift for college graduates (a hundred-dollar bill bookmark isn’t a bad addition, either, maybe even a few), and is extremely useful for anyone who wishes to be mistaken for an adult.

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