Book Review – Your Super Quick Guide To University by Helen Coleman

First published, 2020

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

There is some good advice for the would-be student in this little guide, including how to maintain control over your finances, how to manage food shopping and a varied diet, how to write essays with proper citations and how to maintain a sensible work/life balance.

Some of the guidance, however, is more for mum and dad’s benefit than for the first time student. I can’t imagine anybody, in the first flush of youth, out in the world for the first time, away from home and the all-seeing eye of parental control, is going to be conservative with their alcohol consumption and change every other pint for a blackcurrant soda. Yes, it’s better for your liver, your wallet and your waistline, but where’s the fun in being sensible?

I did enjoy the reiteration about checking in with mental health services sooner rather than later, and the tone of the book was in no way mumsy. It read as if it was written by an enthusiastic teacher.

It was filled with tables and charts to fill in, which I suspect would be useful to the student who likes to keep everything in one place, but there were way too many exclamation marks for my taste. When there are lots, they make me rather nervous. No one should be that jolly outside a St Trinian’s film.

On a more practical level, the ’Things students have told me’ – little quotes in deep blue lozenge shapes throughout the text – are in such a small font size, they’re pretty difficult to read.

Also, I was slightly perturbed by the section on grammar, homonyms and apostrophes. I have no doubt there are students who struggle with literacy but some of the advice was so basic – what a sentence is, what a paragraph is, etc. – that it left me wondering how the author thought the would-be students had got into university in the first place.