If you downloaded this book because you thought it was about architecture, structural engineering, or urban planning, I’m sorry. It’s not. At least it was free, right?
This book talks about bridges as metaphors, or as clear ways to understand abstract concepts.
Imagine you’re on one side of a river and you want to get across to the other side. No, you need to get across to the other side. You have a few options: you can try to walk through it if your feet touch the ground. You can try to swim across it. You can walk along the side of the river looking for a bridge to cross. Finally, if there’s no bridge to cross, you can try to tether something to the other side of the river and build your own bridge to pull yourself across or to walk across.
Before you needed to get across that river, maybe you didn’t care much about bridges. Bridges are just ways to get from one place to another—from San Francisco to Oakland, from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The bridge doesn’t matter; it’s the destination that you care about, right?
Well, this book focuses on bridges because they are important. Metaphorically, to get from high school to college, you need a bridge. If you’re an international student, to move from your country’s customs to those of the United States, you need a bridge. You need a bridge between the academic and the social aspects of college life. And if you can’t find a bridge, you’ll have to build one yourself.
Bridge-building is hard, whether it’s literal or metaphorical bridges. The good news is that you don’t have to build every metaphorical bridge yourself. In fact, many bridges are already in place and were built by experts. However, you will need to know where they are. Otherwise, if you can’t find them, you will struggle unnecessarily all the way to your destination. You will have to build some. However, unlike a game where you have unlimited chances to try again, you only get limited shots at some metaphorical bridge-building. Therefore, instead of leaving you to try things on your own (like I had to, many times), I decided to write this book to show you where those bridges might be and how to build one if needed.
Throughout this book, I will try to refer to this metaphor. I hope it makes sense. If it doesn’t (or if you just don’t like it), just remember: being successful in college is about making connections, seeing relationships, solving problems, engaging actively, and figuring out how to get from “here” to “there.” Find bridges where they already are; figure out how to make them when you need them.