Looking back on her time at Syracuse University, author Koran Zailckas has many regrets. She encouraged Western Illinois University students Monday to enjoy their time in college and not to let alcohol keep them from taking advantage of all the school's offerings.
Looking back on her time at Syracuse University, author Koran Zailckas has many regrets.
She encouraged Western Illinois University students Monday to enjoy their time in college and not to let alcohol keep them from taking advantage of all the school's offerings.
Incoming freshmen at WIU were required to read Zailckas' book "Smashed" as part of their "First Year Experience." Several hundred of those students packed in to hear Zailckas speak Monday night about her battle with alcohol and the road that led her to finish her first book in 2004.
"My experiences are not all that extraordinary in this day and age," she said.
The idea to write the book was spurred by Zailckas' love of writing. She also said she was inspinred by others who have written memoirs.
Zailckas said she had been living in New York but currently leads a "nomadic" life.
"Smashed" was born when Zailckas decided to write about the memory of having her stomach pumped when she was 16.
"From there I realized I could turn it into a whole book," she said.
On Monday night Zailckas read stories of excessive drinking from her college days.
Zailckas was this year's first speaker as part of the this year's health and wellness theme at WIU.
Zailckas said she was excited to find out this spring that WIU students would be reading her work. She said she's spoken to several college groups about the book, but this is the largest group to read it at once.
Zailckas said the real impact of her talks is typically felt several weeks later, when she receives computer correspondence from students.
"Those tend to be more personal," she said. "It means so much when people still think about it a few weeks down the road."
WIU freshman Nicole Blessman, 18, of Canton said Monday's presentation was the first discussion of the book since students were required to read it.
"I liked it, it was interesting," she said. "There were a lot of things in it girls could relate to."
Blessman said that while she's never gone through anything similar to Zailckas' story, she thought it was important for freshmen to read about the impact alcohol could have on their lives.
Jodi Pospeschil can be reached at (309) 686-3041 or firstname.lastname@example.org.