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How to Survive Your
By G. Brown
New View Press
134 pp., $5.95
By Jackie Young
N OW THAT WE are all here at the
University, and most likely have
survived at least the first two months of
classes, there is no real need to read
How to Survive Your College Daze. The
book tries to convey what college is like
for the typical student - Joe Average
goes to school and gets a roommate who
puts his feet up on his pillow, smokes
marijuana, and gets drunk.
That's just about all that author
Brown has to say. Oh, yeah -
homework is hell and so is all the
loneliness, dorm food and university
red tape. Noooo kidding, Mr. Brown.
Anyone who comes to college for a week
can see exactly what you wrote - I
admit it is a slightly realistic portrait of
college life, except for one thing - if
Joe Average read this thinking that it
would tell him all he needs to know
about dorm living he would be totally
distraught and never attend college.
Section one is a beauty. The first
paragraph sums up the whole book:
"Assuming you picked up this book
because you are preparing to go to
college, you probably feel like wetting
Well right off Brown assumes too
much. I picked up the book because I
wanted to see someone's perspective on
college living. I am a University
sophomore, I have a vested interest in
Brown gives us some wise infor-
mation - he tells me something I never
knew. "Not everyone needs to go to
college," he says. After Brown
establishes that plumbers and
technicians make big bucks without a
college degree he goes on to one of his
more insightful passages and explains,
"Get this straight: satisfaction isn't all
money." That's an odd statement
coming from Brown - it's easy to con-
clude after the first few pages that he
wrote the book for bucks. What a
Here is another comment that struck
me as really stupid in just the first
chapter. He writes: "Size, as most
women know, is relative." This phrase
is stuck in the middle of a paragraph
where Brown is describing professors
and sizes of universities. I think I get
his point - but it wasn't very funny at
all. Maybe it will be to you, though.
In the second part of his book Brown
actually offers some tasty bits of
creative ideas to work with under the
title of "dorm pranks."
Brown suggests "a manilla envelope
filled with shaving cream" that you can
shove under someone's door and then
jump on the envelope as hard as you
can. I imagine this must take some
Late-night phone calls, he says, are
"a uniquely satisfying way of getting
someone's goat." "Terrorizing
someone in his or her sleep is a chance
to be extremely inventive and nasty,"
and Brown suggest that "fire ex-
tinguishers can be found in every, dor-
mitory, and sometimes they need to be
tested.. . Nuff said."
Malicious destruction of property and
messing with fire extinguishers are
terrific pranks - so good that some
freshperson who reads the book and
says "so that's why they put those fire
hoses in the hallway," may find
him/herself booted out of the dorm
faster than he or she can finish testing
Brown's list of pranks.
Brown, who obviously didn't attend
this university - not to be snobby - but
realistic - calls college days "the Best
Days of Your Life." Later on, you'll get
a job and a family and a stockpile of
responsibilities, so for now, just ac-
cumulate a lot of funny memories and
work on living life to the hilt. But tuck it
in your brain somewhere that adult life
lurks around the corner. Remind our-
self some night when you're ripped to
the gills on cheap wine."
Brown does hit the nail on the head,
though, when he writes "If you don't
like beer, you might as well drop out of
school right now."
He continues by writing"Go out and
buy a six-pack right now!" Maybe
these sentences are so dear to me
because I hate beer. I know I'm
probably a minority but I still hate the
stuff. Does he have any stock in beer or
As for football games, Brown has
more ridiculous opinions to impose on
us. His "rules of thumb" for watching
college football games are pretty bad.
One states that "the cheerleaders are
fair game for verbal abuse, especially
the male ones who try to act so en-
thusiastic when they really need to get
punched out for acting so faggy."
Another suggestion is that "it is not
considered impolitetowbecome so
overexcited that you throw up at your
seat. It is impolite to do it down the
back of somebody's neck." I found this
one suggestion very appealing.
But just when you think the book is
full of sarcastic suggestions and
revolting ideas, Brown turns serious.
"You can still be very lonely unless
you have enough inner security and
sense of yourself to share yourself with
another person. That's called love, and
it isn't such an antiquated idea," ac-
cording to Brown.
I'm glad I read this definition of love.
My life will be changed forever more.
Simplicity, what a concept! Alas, if he
only made my calculus problems half
In the final section, Brown makes
statements and gives advice that just
aren't always true.
Brown says, "Although ex-
tracurricular activities will be con-
sidered by potential employers, grades
are still the bottom line ... they are still
the most important decision-making
criteria when you become a potential
candidate for your first major career
This is just not true and extremely
poor advice. When I spoke with an
editor of a prestigious newspaper about
what he looks for in a young journalist
he told me work experience at a
newspaper - grades mean nothing
although a degree adds a lot.
This may not be true for all careers,
but neither is the statement that grades
determine who will get the jobs. Ex-
perience counts in today's job market,
no matter what field you may be in.
Brown makes a hasty generalization
- something he does throughout the en-
tire book. Many of his observations are
true. But he overstates their significan-
ce in examining the meaning of the
college experience and distorts things
in a disgusting, distasteful manner. At
first glance however, all of his opinions.
advice, and observations might seem
like a good characterization of the Joe
or Suzie Average - but even I give
these dullards who may really act like
this more credit than I give Brown for
writing a book about it. College Daze is
just not worth the money or the time it
takes to read.
In reference to his book, Brown says,
"without a doubt, I'd buy my book if I
was away at school for the first time.
Heck, it's the same price as a pizza and
I contend that students should go for
the pizza and cokes, you'll get a lot
more for your money. You'll probably
have more insight into what college
means for you chowing down on the piz-
Being a college student is a good lesson in dollars
and sense. Take eating for example. Eating a good
meal is sensible. Eating a good meal for under a dollar
is sensational. Trying to get a good meal at most
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