As a college student, I see the value in taking advantage of resources and getting involved in order to prepare myself for the “real world.”
But after reading “OMG, The Things I Learned in College,” I felt inadequate, ill-represented and, quite frankly, extremely offended.
Written by Bob Roth, a self-proclaimed “college and career success” coach, the book follows two college students, Scott and Jackie, as they run a morning radio show on their college campus.
The students focus each show on different topics relevant to college students, like job search and career preparation; sex and relationships; substance abuse and social media usage. The radio show serves as an informative platform and open space for Scott and Jackie to interact with students and prepare them for life after college.
This sounds like a good concept. But the execution failed.
I typically enjoy books with a plotline disguising the intention to educate readers, but this was just too in-your-face. The entire book felt like a bunch of college pamphlets strung together with random and irrelevant anecdotes in between.
About a third of the book focuses on job search and career preparation, mainly told from the perspective of radio host Jackie. We soon learn that Jackie is homeless. (Even though Ross mentions her and the dorms on multiple occasions – what is the truth?) Desperate to move forward in her own life, Jackie presents lots of valuable information about how to strengthen your resume to get the best job in your field after graduation.
Except here’s the problem: Yes, Jackie is motivated and works hard, but she is not realistic or relatable at all. She actually seems kind of rude and a bit pretentious. I’ll forgive her for that because she’s only working to better her own future, but she’s like a robot. She miraculously has every step perfectly planned out to make even the most-accomplished students I know feel inept and greatly lacking in comparison.
Scott is not a likable character, either. He is sexist and makes inappropriate comments to Jackie, which would call the attention of a Title IX coordinator if he were at Fresno State.
Perhaps the strangest character of all is the narrator, Scott’s friend Doug. I don’t get why there needed to be a narrator for this story when it would have easily made more sense in the third person omniscient point of view.
But we’re lucky. Not only do we get to meet Doug, we get to know him on a personal level with a gratuitous sex scene that comes out of nowhere.
The biggest issue I had right off the bat was that Roth decided to capitalize random words throughout the book that did not need to be capitalized. It was like his caps lock key was stuck or something. It was very distracting.
The book became more problematic the further I read.
An actual statement from the book, during the sex and relationships radio show, was as follows: “We should all agree that only the girl can say yes or no and ‘No’ should always mean ‘No.’” This completely ignores male/transgender/nonbinary victims, but OK, Roth.
In the section about social media issues, Jackie goes on about “wonderful girls” who are bullied by “immature, despicable little bitches.” Seems counterproductive and hypocritical, but what do I know?
I should mention that there are some creepily drawn poronographic illustrations that really startled me as I read.
Roth had good intentions, and this book does contain some information that can be of value to college students. But there is a huge disconnect between the content and modern students.
Everyone’s college experience is going to be different. I’d advise students to reach out to different departments on campus for information and advice instead of rifling through this book in hope of finding something that might be applicable to their own lives.