Common read is important, beneficial for first-year students


As students sit through K-State Orientation and Enrollment presentations, the discussion of the all-university common read will undoubtedly come up.

While some students might not enjoy always reading, K-State offers activities, speakers, events and exhibits all focused around its annual common read, making it highly beneficial for all incoming first-year students to read.

This year’s book is “The Ghost Map” by Steven Johnson.

When I went through Orientation and Enrollment, Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Pat Bosco highly encouraged all students to read that year’s common read, which was “Zeitoun” by Dave Eggers. I wasn’t too sure about that.

As summer ended and I started by first day of classes, I learned that I really should read the common read. I continued to put it off until it was a week before I had a book-related assignment in a class. I’d been warned that I actually had to read the book; it was critical for my grades.

Now, from experience, I would highly recommend all incoming first-year students to participate in the Common Rad Program.

Throughout the year, there will be events involving themes, concepts or things related to the book. These events allow students to create a deeper understanding of life lessons and concepts from the book.

This year, the K-State Book Network, facilitated as a part of K-State First, will be bringing in the author Steven Johnson. It will be more beneficial if you know what the author is talking about when he refers to his work during the presentation. Other common read oriented activities will be held throughout the year, meant to continue to build strong community connectedness with first year students through themes and concepts from “The Ghost Map.”

The common book is chosen by a large and well-versed committee because it are well-written, has strong themes that are beneficial for students, and are great pieces of literature. Expect great things from this year’s common read.

As I have progressed through my time at K-State, I have read every year’s common read book. I read them during the summer, and I would highly recommend students to do the same.

So read this common read book, “The Ghost Map.” It’s solid advice. The books chosen have strong writing and themes and will play heavily into your first year. Plus, your transition to K-State will be a lot smoother if you’re not scrambling to read it later.

Jakki Forester is a junior in journalism and American ethnic studies. She decided to read the common read her freshman year, and has enjoyed the program ever since, even after her freshman year. Please send comments to