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Six Books for your College-Bound Creature

When my kids left for college I wanted to impart to them something that would be useful. Not anything philosophical, or related to values, because it was too late for that. So I wrote a little pamphlet about cooking, cleaning and general tips, added a few recipes and illustrations, collated it and printed it. Doubtless, they were each a little disappointed not to be getting something more meaningful or even material, but seriously, learning to live on one’s own is a big step, and learning to live well is an even bigger step. College-bound students don't need to know how to study; they've been doing it their whole life. But managing the daily grind? Parents may have given their children the best education money can buy, but if you can't boil water for pasta...Many kids find themselves at a complete loss when it comes to organizing laundry, a basic budget, shopping and cooking for themselves. Not to mention keeping their habitat clean. Without further ado, I quote from the introduction to my pamphlet:

You’re outta here? Of course! Away from the constraints of the rules at home and at high school. Stay up all night, eat junk food and loll about in unwashed clothes. And absolutely never brush your teeth. Sounds awesome. But this might get old fast. Because once the rubbish starts piling up, the cockroaches (or worse) arrive in droves, the mold in the bathroom blossoms into mushrooms, all the food in the fridge has gone bad and there are no more clean clothes to wear for that club night on Saturday, things might seem a little overwhelming and not so much fun anymore. So this pamphlet is a very basic guide to living simply, avoiding the mold and having at least one pair of clean socks in the drawer.

Since this pamphlet was an unpublished affair, here are five books that will be helpful for your college-bound creature:

The Naked Roommate

From sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to sharing lecture notes, The Naked Roommate is a behind-the-scenes look at everything college students need to know about college (but never knew they needed to know). This hilarious book is packed with real-life advice on everything from making friends to managing stress, with stories told by students on over 100 college campuses. The basics and then some are absolutely covered here.

Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone

No matter how hard they try, parents never have time to teach their children everything they need to know before they leave home. Becky Blades compiles here the best tidbits of advice into one thought-provoking, conversation-starting book. Laundry, is of course, of utmost importance, but more is covered, including finances, with a hint of motherly sass. Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone is perfect for college-bound students. 

On Your Own 101

This self-published book is by Chris Kelly, a single mother and certified coach who says she strives to live a champagne life on a lemonade budget, which is what most college students hope for. On Your Own 101 is a simple how-to guide for real life scenarios. Whether moving out on one's own for the first time or not knowing how to do some of life's simple tasks, this is a handy, easy to understand guide that can get one out of a jam. 

The Vegetarian Student Cookbook

The Vegetarian Student Cookbook contains more than 100 quick and cheap meat-free recipes with indispensable tips on budgeting, lunchbox ideas, healthy eating and how to get creative with leftovers. All the recipes are balanced for a healthy vegetarian diet, and they each have an affordability stamp to help with budgeting, as well as detailed instructions to make them accessible to even the most novice cook. 

Good Food Eat Well: Cheap and Healthy

Not necessarily for college students, this book is nevertheless well adapted for them, with short and simple recipes with easy-to-follow steps. Good Food Eat Well: Cheap and Healthy is a comprehensive collection of fresh, healthy, and reasonably priced recipes for every day of the week from smoothies and soups to hearty main meals and sweets.

The Complete Guide to Personal Finance for Teenagers & College Students

Last but not least, here is a reliable and relevant source of financial information in which teenagers and college students will find a wealth of useful information. How to manage credit, how to make and stick to a budget, how to save for...a Masters? Opening a bank account, writing a check, managing debit or credit cards and avoiding the pressures of consumerism, are all covered here.


Olivia is a Paris-based journalist and editor.