Book Review: Transitioning to Real Life: A Common Sense Guide for the African-American New College Graduate
Book Reviewed by Jamie Walker
It isn't easy transitioning from college to the real world, but in Transitioning to Real Life: A Common Sense Guide for the African American New College Graduate, Yvonne Curry Smallwood provides all of the information a recent graduate might need to succeed in business and in their own personal life.
Most students who have not yet entered the workforce are not prepared for the road ahead. They are neither aware of what will be expected of them nor are they accustomed to what some working-class American citizens consider ’common sense.’ For example, getting to work on time (every day), dressing professionally at your place of work (or for a job interview), managing your finances, and learning to network in your field are all small reminders that serve as life lessons for the recent graduate seeking to establish a name for his/her self in the real world.
In Transitioning to Real Life: A Common Sense Guide for the African American New College Graduate, Smallwood covers everything from saving and paying bills on time to the importance of finding both professional and spiritual mentors. She offers Psalms for comfort and teaches students how to triumph over adversity with her inspiring affirmations.
In addition to offering advice on finding a compatible, well-balanced, and centered mate, Smallwood helps graduates to choose which career path is best for them. She stresses the importance of giving back to one's community (and alma mater), as she notes the importance keeping God first and ’staying current on new technologies.’
Although Smallwood's book is not written in narrative format, bulleted lists are provided on each page to keep the student's eyes on the prize. For example, here is the advice Smallwood offers under her subject heading ’The Job Search’:
- In the job search use all valuable resources: your college/university career center, headhunters, online employment search engines, newspapers, trade magazines in your career area, friends, colleagues, professors, alumni, and general words of mouth.
- During the job search let everyone you come in contact with know that you are looking for employment. Sometimes those you feel can help the least are the ones that who can help the most.
- Know the type of employer that will best suit your goals: A large for-profit global corporation, a national or global not-for-profit organization, a (local, state, federal) government agency, an academic institution, or a small local company. The choices are many.
- Determine if relocation is an option for you.
- When searching for a job, look for one with benefits. Good jobs should have some basic benefits, including health insurance and vacation leave.
- Stay encouraged it's a tough job market; but you can reach your goals.
- Refuse to give up.
These key aspects of the book are perfect for students with short attention spans, or for students who are simply returning to Smallwood's book for quick advice and moral support.
Transitions can be read in one sitting. The book is more witty and thoughtful rather than ’preachy’ or didactic. Whether you purchase Transitions for a recent graduate (or for yourself), the advice offered is helpful. Much like the advice Smallwood has offered to her own children over the years, the advice present in her book helps to ensure that future generations of African American college graduates are well-equipped for the real world and the road that lies ahead.