Book by: Katherine Schwarzenegger
Review by: Marilee Teasley
Undergraduate Advising Center
University of Kansas 

It is tempting to take a look at this book and dismiss it as another cheesy and hollow advice book that you’d see in “Dads and Grads” sales at big box stores that will sit and gather dust on the shelves of recent graduates. It is also tempting to judge the content based on the author’s last name and the list of A-list celebrities and other well-known names that contributed to this collection. Yes, this is a book meant for recent graduates, but the content is nowhere near shallow nor meaningless. Yes, Ms. Schwarzenegger has two extremely famous parents, and her place in society has facilitated easy access to other famous individuals for the purpose of this project, but the result is something that is extremely genuine and accessible to students and graduates.

Ms. Schwarzenegger describes the day she graduated from the University of Southern California as a day full of uncertainty and a barrage of questions from friends and family about her next steps. Feeling overwhelmed and judged for taking a moment to “pause” after graduation, she realized there was a need for a book that compiled stories and advice from people who have been in this exact position in life to encourage future graduates. She then set out to interview successful celebrities, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others to hear and record their stories.

Students will be drawn in by the big names from pop culture (e.g., Eva Longoria, Serena Williams, Anderson Cooper, and Arnold Schwarzenegger) and brand creators (e.g., Spanx, Toms, and Sprinkles Cupcakes) represented in this book, but will ultimately stay engaged with the book because of the genuine and relatable advice given by these public figures. They’ll relate to stories of being first generation students, desiring to make a difference in the world, struggling to connect a major to a career, and experiencing failure. They’ll also be inspired by stories of taking leaps of faith, creating opportunities where there are none, rising above one’s background, and proving doubters wrong.

Even though Ms. Schwarzenegger spends a few too many paragraphs name dropping and bragging about her connection to these famous contributors and their brands, she should be commended for collecting such a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life and academic backgrounds (including music, cultural studies, journalism, and business). In fact, many of the interviewees did not attend or finish college. Some contributors are better with words than others, but students should be able to find at least one memoir to which they relate.

In my opinion, this is a worthwhile book for both academic and career advisors to read, especially those who work with upperclassmen and students preparing to graduate or go to graduate school. Advisors will get an inside look at what students today face after college and can gather points of advice to pass on to their advisees. Advisors who teach exploration courses or first-year/senior seminars would benefit from using this book as a text. Or, they could utilize relevant examples from this book to facilitate discussion and/or inspiration. Finally, I would encourage advisors to recommend this book to their students or have a copy of the book available for students to borrow from their office or a resource library.

Hopefully, because of Ms. Schwarzenegger’s work, the question “What are you doing next?” won’t be as daunting to upcoming graduates in coming years.

I Just Graduated…Now What?. (2014). Book by Katherine Schwarzenegger. Review by Marilee Teasley. New York: Crown Publishing (Random House), 288 pp. Price $20.00 (Paperback). ISBN #978-0-385-34720-4

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