“The Her Campus Guide to College Life: How to Manage Relationships, Stay Safe and Healthy, Handle Stress, And Have The Best Years of Your Life,” a college advice book written by Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Annie Chandler Wang, Windsor Hanger Western and the writers and editors of Her Campus, was released on April 4, 2015.

Many of you are probably already familiar with Her Campus, especially since we have our very own chapter here at Fairfield. Her Campus is the number one global online community for college women founded by three Harvard alums. Their website is an invaluable tool for female college students, and it was the winner of Harvard’s business plan competition in 2009. Articles on the site are written by over 5,000 contributing college student journalists and more than 250 college chapters have been formed. Many contributing writers and campus correspondents have gone on to accept positions at big-name magazines and marketing companies such as Glamour, Vogue, People and Ogilvy.

This guidebook offers the “collegiette” (Her Campus’ moniker for the in-the-know female college student) a lot of helpful advice, such as creating roommate contracts and eating right — despite some unhealthy dining hall options. As a senior, I did find some useful tips, particularly in the chapters on LinkedIn, social media etiquette and landing coveted internships and jobs. It is also always beneficial to learn about new ways to beat stress (whether it’s low level or chronic) and get refreshed on ways to handle roommate situations or unhealthy relationships with friends or dates. Despite enjoying this book, I do feel it is best targeted to the first and second year student.

The five-part sectioning of the book works well to organize subjects, for example, “Staying Safe in College” and “Managing Your Money and Career.” Each chapter concludes with Wellness Check-ins, like “Six Workout Mistakes to Avoid” as well as Chapter Checklists. The authors’ goal is to take you through all aspects of college life, both academic and social, with insights that will help you succeed in thriving during your college years. They accomplish that goal having created a most thorough and well-written guide.

Reading this book is like having a conversation with your best girlfriends and older role models who sincerely want to help you succeed. These articles written by the founders are recent college graduates who, in looking back, can give you sage counsel on how to navigate the often-complicated waters of college. This ultimate college handbook should be given to young women at their college orientation, as there are so many tips that are perfect for new students, such as how to beat the freshman 15 and talking about career planning. Some say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I say this book will be the best friend that can change your life. If you aren’t already a collegiette, you’ll certainly be on your way after reading this book. Co-founder Stephanie Kaplan Lewis recalls her time as a college student and how the idea for Her Campus launched into a great success.

Interview with co-founder Stephanie Kaplan Lewis:

GW: What sparked your interest in starting Her Campus for college girls? Did you have a specific experience that launched the idea?

SKL: My co-founders and I met as undergrads at Harvard while working on a student publication that was a lifestyle and fashion magazine for Harvard women. We took over leadership of the publication and transitioned it online, and it took off—not just with women at Harvard, but also with women at colleges across the country. Women at other colleges started contacting us asking for advice on how to start something similar at their school, and this gave us the idea to create a national media property targeted at college women, with both national and local content, all produced by student journalists.

GW:  What was college life like for you?

SKL: College was very busy! I was a psychology major, economics minor; editor-in-chief of the student publication that gave us the idea for Her Campus; Vice President of Communications for my sorority, Delta Gamma; conducted psychology research in two different labs; and worked as a tour guide at the admissions office. Over the summers I studied abroad in Barcelona, and held editorial internships at Seventeen and SELF.

GW: When and how did you come up with the idea of a “collegiette”?

SKL: We came up with the term “collegiette” in the very early stages of Her Campus, before we had launched. I don’t remember exactly how the idea came to us but as soon as we thought of it, it stuck

GW: What does it take to become a campus correspondent for Her Campus or to start a new chapter?

SKL: Anyone interested in starting a chapter of Her Campus can apply here: http://www.hercampus.com/start-your-own-my-campus-chapter and we then conduct a rigorous application process involving publicity ideas, demonstrated interest from your peers, interviews and more. If your school already has a chapter of Her Campus, you can visit your chapter’s page within HerCampus.com and email the Campus Correspondents to get involved!

GW: What is a typical day like for you at Her Campus?

SKL: There really is no typical day! But on any given day, I might be meeting with different departments and people I oversee, answering emails, going through agreements for clients, working on the editorial calendar, working on projects like our conferences and more. Some days might also involve speaking engagements or, most recently, book signing events!

GW: What advice would you give to college students or “collegiettes” that you did not include in your new book?

SKL: If you have an idea for a business, get started as soon as possible! There is no time like the present.

GW: What do you think is the most important takeaway from The Her Campus Guide to College Life if you had to sum it up in a few words?

SKL: College is all about balance.

GW: What are you reading now? What would you recommend a soon-to-be college graduate put on her reading list? (Other than The Her Campus Guide to College Life of course!)

SKL: Two great books I’ve read recently are ”Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg (obviously!) and ”The Glitter Plan” by the founders of Juicy Couture.

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