Posted by Ellen Bremen on May 21, 2012 in General, General College Success/Responses to Other College Entities | 6 comments
(Hello, all! Some updates from me: -First of all, my blogging rhythm is still off and quite honestly, as a new blogger, a new author, a mother, and a public employee, I’m just still juggling my way. So, I’ll say that I appreciate your patience as I continue to find a pattern that works and one that maintains my quality of content for you!
-Second, an exciting update! Remember last week’s post where I told you about my colleague who confronted the class? Guess what? Colleague taught class Colleague’s way using the students’ input, abandoning the “canned curriculum” Colleague had been using. The class was electric! The students loved the teaching style and the format. They actually clapped at the end! Colleague “feels excited about prepping/teaching.” Bravo to Colleague for confronting that “bad class” situation, opening up conversation with the students, and turning the dynamic around.
-Finally, if you’re on Twitter–and if you’re not, how about signing up?–join myself and Christian Hollingsworth for some communication talk on #DadChat with Bruce Sallan this Thursday night, 6 p.m. I hear that this is one wild time, and we’re giving away copies of Say This, NOT That to Your Professor! Now on to business!)
It’s my very first book review!
Now I’ve said before that I will never, ever, ever endorse something that I cannot wrap my entire heart and head around. So, you know this has to be good!
Let me start by giving you a little bit of history: When I was finishing graduate school, I was desperate to find a book on how to find a job teaching at a community college.
(You didn’t realize we were going back that far. I get it. Bear with me.)
As you can imagine, there was not one book to be found. I had to settle for a book called “The Compleat Academic.” That’s right: “Compleat.” (Go Google the word to find out the meaning. It’s not misspelled… I had to check it, myself.)
Now if I couldn’t find a book about teaching in a community college, what about being a community college student? The pickings have been pretty slim in that department, too. Believe me, I know. I just did a literature review of college success books for my own book proposal and the authors are from universities.
So you can imagine my absolute glee when I saw an entry on Publisher’s Weekly from an agent named Krista Goering (now my agent, too!!!) that Isa Adney had a book for option called “Community College Success: How to Finish with Friends, Scholarships, Internships, and the Career of Your Dreams.”
Fast-forward a year-and-change later and I am thrilled to hold that book in my hand.
Let’s start with the obvious about why this book is so critically important in the world: Community college students have a much needed ambassador in Isa Adney. You can read about Isa’s background on her website, but I’ll give you the summary: first-gen college student who didn’t want to put her parents in scorching debt. So she “settled” for a community college. But little did Isa know, she found a gateway to incredible scholarships and unthinkable opportunity. For students, the beauty of this book is that she tells you how find these opportunities, too.
Now let me qualify what I’m saying here: So, so many college success books (and I’ve seen a bunch of them for my own proposal, remember?) give students a big punch list of “what you should do and why.” What makes Isa’s book refreshingly unique is that her recommendations literally feel like her arm is right around your shoulder, like she is right there by your side, walking along with you on the campus! For example, when Isa tells you “how joining clubs can help you soar,” she sandwiches the advice between her own experiences and actual quotes from students who took the advice, or describe how they felt before they took the advice, and what they did to overcome their fears. Isa gives this same treatment to the chapter on talking to classmates, as well as approaching professors. Her candor regarding her own apprehensions, as well as her real-life examples, give students confidence and a feeling of “I can do this, too!” Check out the robust Look Inside the Book feature on Amazon and look at all the academic advice that Isa’s book offers. She took every single one of these intricate steps herself and interviewed other students who tried them, too.
Now let me come full-circle in this review: How this book can change your life even if you’re not in college. Isa’s personal triumphs aside–earning the coveted $110,000 Jack Kent Cooke scholarship–section three of this book is the brass ring for any person who is job hunting or considering changing jobs.
Currently, Isa is being lauded by career experts for her career advice, and in reading this book, you will see why. Bottom line: Isa does not come from money. She says, “If your family history is anything like mine, then you probably didn’t grow up socializing with doctors, attorneys or CEOs.” Isa had to break the cycle of poverty by learning from professionals. Isa had to be bold enough to invite mentors into her life. She had to ask questions. She had to research and communicate to seek others out and learn from their experiences.
Isa tells you step-by-step how she found mentors, scholarships, opportunities, and jobs. And again, Isa explains her process in a way that makes you believe that you can follow her path. Any advice book worth its salt helps the reader feel empowered and like they can take immediate action. Isa’s book does just that for both students and the public-at-large.
This book is special in so many ways and for so many reasons. It represents an extremely underserved segment of the academic population, provides specific, critical advice for many out there who are navigating the job market, and, most importantly, celebrates a young woman who is generously prepared to share knowledge with others… as her mentors shared with her.