A colorful, realistic depiction of college life

Do you remember your first semester in college? From leaving your family and friends at home to enrolling in classes and meeting your roommate for the first time, every semester is someone’s first semester. First Semester, published by Kimani Press, is a cautionary tale about the life of James “J.D.” Dawson, an 18-year-old freshman from Oakland who attends a Historically Black University in Atlanta.

After losing a close childhood friend to violence and narrowly escaping his notoriously rough neighborhood, J.D. is determined to use college as a springboard for a better life. However, once he arrives at the dorm, J.D. quickly learns that getting out of Oakland and into college was only half the battle. Follow J.D. as he is faced with extreme tests of willpower to complete his first semester. In addition to hanging with a crew of guys with enough problems of their own J.D. encounters a harsh reality when he finds out his girlfriend has contracted the HIV virus.

Ultimately, J.D. must figure out how to manage college courses, peer pressure and life-changing experiences as he learns one very important lesson. . . You never get a second first semester.

This story provides a colorful, realistic depiction of the many dilemmas college students today are faced with, and how the decisions they make in those first six months of college can carry lifelong circumstances. In each chapter, author Cecil Cross II, relives moments that college students and alumni can relate to, from forging new friendships and wild parties to Greek life, financial struggles and educational barriers. Even while addressing the seriousness of the HIV epidemic, Cross manages to keep the dialogue witty, unique and entertaining.

“No matter how many parties you attend, exams you prepare for, or friends you meet in college, nothing stands out more than what you experience in that first semester,” said Cross. “From waiting in long registration lines, adjusting to dorm life or becoming familiar with a place far from home; these are memories that last a lifetime. With First Semester, I wanted to capture one of the most important transitions in life. They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I say you never get a second first semester.”

This story allows anyone who has ever attended college to reminiscence about those memorable experiences that happened their first year away from home. First Semester is available online and in bookstores.