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Saturday Read: 4 and a Half Books for Back to School

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Since school is right around the corner, I thought I’d give a list of some of my favorite inspirational and informative books for school. Whether they help you in deciding your major or cooking up a mean dinner, these books are a college student’s best friends (next to the microwave, Vitamin Water and Jersey Shore).

1. What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles
We’ve all taken those online quizzes about your future career, but have you ever really done a personality assessment to see what career is going to suit you best? “Parachute” has been around for years and is considered one of the foremost books on the subject. It’s not a short read, but it will get you to really evaluate every part of what makes you, you! By breaking down your strengths and weaknesses, you will find out not only what job will make you happy, but also what field you will find success in. My parents bought this for me after high school and I chucked it to the back of my bookshelf. However, after my first year of university, I dug it out and read through. I feel like it really assured me that I had switched into the right program for me.

2. How to Cook Everything, by Mark Bittman
This book is a life-saver for anyone who needs to cook their own meals. I consider myself fairly capable in the kitchen, but this book helped me expand my skills and taught me the basics. There are chapters on how to cook simple things like meat and pasta, which are then followed with recipes where you can test your new knowledge. I find that once you have a basic understanding of how to cook your food (like thawing your chicken breast, cooking it in a pan with oil, etc), you can combine them to create all sorts of great meals!

3. The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho
This classic novel teaches the important lesson that, essentially, you must do what you love. It’s a short book with a powerful lesson. I think that for college students, this book can have a huge impact. It made me think about my purpose on Earth (known as your Personal Legend in the book) and totally influenced my career choice and goals. As a student, I think it’s so easy to get lost with all the pressure and distractions in life. Re-reading books like this (or The Little Prince – another great one!) every once in a while help to keep your goals in sight and your head on straight.

4. This Year I Will…, by MJ Ryan
Once you’ve decided your major and picked your classes, you’ve got to set yourself some goals! I know I sound like a broken record, but seriously! Writing your goals down for the year – whether they be academic, professional, personal, etc. – is a wonderful strategy. This book is great for helping you to not only set realistic goals (I’m going to do my best as opposed to I’m going to get the highest grade in the course), but create a plan to fulfill them through the school year. It’s designed to help you set and keep New Year’s resolutions, but there is no reason why you can’t apply it any time of the year!

5. A Great Agenda
My final book is not really a book in the “novel” sense, but it’s still crucial and probably the most important one on this list. If you’ve never used an agenda or day planner before, let this be the year! Go to your local bookstore and find a really pretty one (or, if you’re more tech savvy, use an online program!) and fill it with everything! I try to color-code mine (I know, I know – nerd alert) by class and then also for school and extra-curriculars. Seriously, once you get into the routine, you will thank me.

COLLEGECANDY Writer
I love my little hometown and all that goes with living in the Great White North - snow, skiing, hot chocolate, bulky knit sweaters. I'm passionate about a lot of things, but you'll most often find me writing about books, makeup and fashion. As I like to put it, I've got beauty AND brains.