The First Year Reading Program is a new student’s introduction to the academic life of the university. Each year the selected books are integrated into foundation courses and Learning Communities as a way for students to engage with the book's themes both inside and outside the classroom. All UVM first-year students are required to read the selected book for the start of their first semester. Find your book based on your Learning Community assignment or if you are living off-campus below: 

Arts and Creativity - As Lie Is To Grin: A Novel, Simeon Marsalis

Cultural Crossroads - Black Is the Body, Emily Bernard

Honors College -Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehesi Coates

Innovation and Entrepreneurship - The Book of Beautiful Questions, Warren Berger

Liberal Arts ScholarsWhat The Best College Students Do, Ken Bain

Leadership and Social Change - Educated, Tara Westover

Outdoor Experience - The Nature Fix, Florence Williams

Sustainability - Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

Wellness Environment - Notorious RBG, Irin Carmon & Shan Knizhnik

Off-CampusWhat The Best College Students Do, Ken Bain (*See below)


Living Off-Campus? Learn more about what Lisa Schnell, Associate Professor of English at UVM, has to say about your assigned reading:

"As a professor and as an academic advisor to many first-year students over the years, I am well acquainted with the many forms anxiety takes in the UVM student population. Perhaps the most common cause of mental distress comes from simple indecision: here I am in college, you think, with no idea of what I want to be when I grow up, but I have to choose a major. I felt the same way when I went to college, and I did find my way eventually. But I would have given anything to have had a book like Ken Bain’s What the Best College Students Do as my summer reading before I got started.

It’s not exactly a how-to book, because Bain’s point is not that there’s one way to get the most out of college. He also doesn’t tell you that you need to know exactly what you’re doing, or make a final sort of life decision at any point in the next four years. What he does do is tell you a lot of great stories about people who took the time and found the people and the courses who could help them reflect on what was meaningful to them; people who learned to ask the right sorts of questions.

I recently listened to an interview with a botanist in which she said that scientific training is typically focused on learning about things: as a student, she learned about plants. After several years as a botanist, she realized that approach was all wrong, that she needed instead to be focused on learning from plants. Bain’s book embraces this approach two ways: he emphasizes a way of learning in college that highlights the from and not the about; and he wrote a book that’s designed to bring you and me, the readers, into an experience of learning from. I learned a lot from this book when I read it earlier this year, but I know I would have benefited from it even more—and felt very reassured about my own indecisiveness—if I’d read it before I started college. I’m looking forward to chatting with you about what you’ve learned from it it on Saturday, August 24 from 10 to noon in the Davis Center."