In Surviving Freshman Year by Gregory Jones, a group of students forge new connections and make important decisions during their first year of college. The chapters in the book include Bible excerpts, discussion questions, and thought-provoking concepts. The book begins with Brandon having to determine which student clubs to join. In another part of the novel, Daniel, who is stuck in his residence hall due to a snowstorm on Thanksgiving weekend, mulls over his future steps after graduating. Finally, Lauren must decide how she wants to serve in the coming academic year. Surviving Freshman Year offers a variety of circumstances that one can encounter throughout their first year of college.
This engaging book has the feel of a compilation of short stories featuring the same setting and cast of characters. Each chapter takes a new turn and focuses on a different character, providing just enough about their backgrounds and goals to allow the reader to identify with and understand them. For example, Austin, one of the book’s protagonists, is said to go to church on Christmas and Easter but not regularly. He reminds me of a college acquaintance of mine. The cast of characters shows diversity in their engagement with organized religion, but they are still believers. This makes the book accessible to even those that may feel that just because they do not attend services each week, this is not for them, but in reality, this book is for all people.
These captivating stories are well-complimented by the thought-provoking questions that follow them. Together, they provide an imaginative and practical method of comprehending incredibly valuable and beneficial Bible lessons. I particularly liked the chapter on spiritual talents, which offers introspective questions about discovering one’s gifts. The author gently leads the reader to reach their own conclusions by posing probing questions that help them understand various concepts, including generosity, hospitality, stereotypes of Christians, temptations, volunteering, modest clothing, and others.
Surviving Freshman Year will be both enjoyable and educational for young adults and readers entering college. Its lessons are skillfully structured to assist the reader in making informed decisions based on the teachings of the Bible.
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