To all my freshman babies who are panicking right now about how much your college textbooks cost: Yeah, you’re right, that’s some highway robbery. No, you don’t have to lie down and take it. You have options. Follow my advice and fly on your own debt free wings.
1. Forgoe the bookstore entirely. Sometimes you can get a good deal on something, usually a rental, but it’s usually going to be considerably more expensive to go through official channels. Outsmart them, babies.
2. Does your syllabus call for edition eight? Get edition seven. Old editions are considered worthless in the buyback trades, so they sell for dirt cheap, no matter how new they are. It’s a gamble, sure; there might be something in edition eight you desperately need, but that never happened to me. However, I’ve only ever pulled this stunt for literature/mass comm/religious studies books, so I don’t know it would work in the sciences.
3. Thriftbooks.com, especially for nonfiction and fiction. Books are usually four or five dollars unless they’re really new, and shipping is 99 cents unless you buy over 10$ in books, in which case shipping is free.
4. Bigwords.com. It will scan every textbook seller on the internet for the lowest price available, and will do the same to find the highest price when you try to sell your books back at the end of term. Timesaver, lifesaver.
5. In all probability, your library offers a service called interlibrary loan which is included in your tuition. This means if your library doesn’t carry a book you can order it for free from any library nationwide in your library’s network and it will be shipped to you in a number of days. Ask a librarian to show you how to search for materials at your library as well as though interlibrary loan; you’ll need to master this skill soon anyway. If you get lucky you can just have your required reading shipped to you a week before you need to start reading, then renew vigorously until you no longer need to item. I’m saving over 100$ on a History of Islam class this way.
You professors might side-eye you for bringing an old edition or a library copy, but you just smile right back honey, because you can pay your rent and go clubbing this month. You came here to win. So go forth and slay.
Hello Dr. Professor Sir, I understand you are currently out of the country on a Very Important Research Trip but I have reached a stumbling block in my Big Official Paper for a Completely Legitimate Reason. I was hoping if you would maybe please possibly give me an Extension of Mercy on said Paper due to my Extenuating Circumstance, Academic Record, and Established Collegiate Relationship with you. Ever Your Obedient Servant, Firstname Lastname.
Study in front of the fireplace for a change of scenery? Don’t mind if I do. 📚✏📖☕
Side note: I have started dreaming about differential equations. The other night I dreamt I was scaling a mountain and cackling gremlins were chucking linear DEs at me like grenades, and if I didn’t solve them quickly they exploded. 💣
Me: “I’m watching YouTube videos and reading blog posts on different study, reading, and note-taking techniques, and then comparing them to see which one works best for me so when I study I learn the material the best and can read the fastest.”
Person: “Ummm… that’s great. But it sounds like a lot of research. Don’t you need to read the text and study for your current class you’re in?”
Me: “Yeah, I’m three days behind on my reading and assignments. But I’m learning how to learn.”
College hack: When your professor passes around a sign-up sheet for projects, group work, or research, choose dates nearer to the beginning of the school year, the sooner the better. The professor will grade you more leniently, you will have more energy since school will have just started, and you won’t be bogged down with midterms or finals for other classes. It seems like more work, but I swear by this tactic, it will save your nerves and your grades.
“You’re so smart and good in class, how do you not have an A”
Because I’m selectively perfectionistic and have a terrible case of college burnout, Karen™. I can both despise homework and the college model AND STILL deeply love my professors, learning, and the material at hand