College Advice Rap

Bruce Von Stiers

There is a small publishing house that I recently came across called Zumaya Publications. They publish mysteries, fantasy/ sci-fi and other types of novels. They also have a humor area that includes a book for incoming college freshmen. This book is titled Prof Rap. It was written by Larry Rochelle, the author of a few of the Zumaya mystery titles.

Prof Rap is a short volume. It only has a little over 90 pages. But it is full of witticisms and sage advice for people just starting college. What makes Rochelle qualified to write such a book? He teaches Composition and Cinema at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. This is a college that is at the edge of the Corporate Woods business park development in Overland Park.

Larry starts you out with a four question quiz. He then gives the answers and lets you know that if you passed the quiz, then you are ready to read his book. As pizza is a staple of university cuisine, the chapters are labeled as names of pizza. There is Pepperoni, Mushroom, Sausage and Green Pepper. Each of these chapters deal with aspects of college life and the do's and don’ts.

Some of Larry’s first advice is about having credit cards. He tells the incoming freshman, “Credit cards? No way. What are parents for? Call them for cash.” Grades? Larry has some good advice there too. “Don’t cry over a C grade; remember it counts toward graduation…”

One of the pieces of advice I pointed out to my 14 year old son is “the television and PlayStation have OFF buttons; use them.” As a matter of fact, my son read several parts of the book. He thought it was hilarious. I reminded him that this is a book he should reread before heading off to college. Of course, Josh insisted that he wouldn’t do anything like the bad things listed in the book that are constants in the life of college freshmen. Yeah, right.

Larry covers things like having headphones and using them for study or inspirational music. He recommends “the classics or ‘Enigma’ or cool jazz.” I totally agree with Larry on that. Relaxing music can motivate the synapses better than the latest Billboard Top 20 hits. As a matter of fact, as I am writing this review, I am listening to the new Tom Scott smooth jazz CD. Not only is it great music, the CD helped motivate me in writing this review.

There are a lot of common sense things in this book that young people should already be keenly aware of. But apparently something happens when freshmen step onto a college campus. Some of their common sense sprouts wings and takes flight. So while Larry’s book is irreverent, it also has some key advice for first time college students.

Some of the advice seems silly on the surface. Larry asks if you really “want that nose ring?” Even though he doesn’t come right out and say it, the advice is basically that it might be cool now, but will you be able to get a job in the real world with one?

Prof Rap is not the end all for advice to college freshmen. But it is a slice of the pie (pizza pie that is). Larry Rochelle has taken things he’s seen as a professor and written a great book that takes an irreverent look at what incoming college freshmen should be doing.

For additional information about Prof Rap, visit the Zumaya Publications web site. It can be found at


© 2002 Bruce E. Von Stiers