College is often depicted as an endless party, but it also can be a jarring transition. College 101: A Girl's Guide to Freshman Year (Prufrock Press, $14.95) is a thoughtful, humorous guidebook tackling everything from sexual issues to student loan debt. "It's a difficult time in a lot of people's lives, and it's sold to us as this really idealistic experience," says Zeilinger, a Pepper Pike native and founder and editor of the feminist blog The FBomb. The senior sociology major at Barnard College offers three tips to surviving freshman year.
Be honest. Freshmen often feel they have personally failed if they are not having the best time of their lives, Zeilinger explains. Combat unrealistic expectations with conversation. "If we are a little more transparent about what college is really like," she says, "we can make it easier for future generations."
Take risks. College presents an unusual opportunity — independence with a safety net. So seize each moment. "There are few other chances where you can really put yourself out there," she says.
Explore options. It's OK if you're not sure of your career path. "I happened across the [sociology] department by picking classes that interested me," Zeilinger recalls. "It's definitely worth trying out a lot of different things. You might find your passion."