The Feeling You Get When You Realize Your Brain Might Explode Into Confetti– Along With Your Bank Account

23 Aug

Right. Is the title long enough? I think I may need to insert a few more unnecessary words there.

I’m taking a self-defense class this semester. The problem with this, however, is that I’m about as non- threatening as a baby kangaroo. When I punched the cushy blue box thing, I half expected it to break out in giggling. Hopefully, by the end of the semester, I’ll be able to give that condescending giggly box a roundhouse kick to the face.
I’m also taking a couple of English and Economics classes since this is *sigh* my last semester. In these first few days, though, I’ve been more stressed out than usual because the textbooks are so ridiculously expensive.

On one hand, you have the English Department full of professors who aren’t particularly wealthy, so they’ll say, “Yeah, I know you guys are probably as broke as I am—haha– so the books for this class are fairly cheap.” Then, they’ll look at you as though you’re supposed to be thankful for the “cheap” books… right.

Well, Doctor Professor Literature Man or Lady, let me introduce you to a concept called ‘adding and subtracting’.
Sure, the books on your syllabus would normally be cheap because they’ve been in the public domain for some 200 years now. BUT, Mr. Professor, in your syllabus, do you say, “Just bring whatever copy you want to class”?

No. You don’t.

According to your syllabus, we have to have the Penguin-Carried-All-The-Way-Back-From-The-9th-Circle-Of-Hell Edition, so we can all “follow along in class” and “engage in a cohesive discussion”. After all, maybe by having the same edition, we’ll all suddenly be inspired to actually have a discussion about the relevance of that random semi-colon that you pointed out.

Oh, and, there is also that small line that says, “No devices with an internet connection are allow in class.” Guess what has an internet connection, Doctor Professor? My kindle and almost every eReader out there. Fantastic.

Maybe, it wouldn’t be so bad if it was just that one special edition that we needed for class. Then, perhaps, you could still get away with calling your book list “cheap”.

But you didn’t put just one book on your syllabus that requires a particular edition, Mr. Professor.

You put ten.

One for every level of hell and an extra just for kicks, I suppose.

 

In the Economics department, you’ll see an equally expensive book list—except it’ll just be one book. The professors in this department, however, are much more direct about the price—they’ll tell you on the first day of class that the book costs more than what we make in a month.

This is the point in which a challenge is issued.

Challenge, if you choose to except it (or if you can’t afford the new book), is to find the book cheaply.

It would seem simple, right? Kind of like economics seems to “simply” deal with supply and demand, we students need to “simply” find the book for the lowest price possible.

Like economics, however, things are not that simple.

There are your standard book sites: your campus bookstore, Barnes and Nobel, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist.

These site generally sell hard copies and, in order to get one, you almost always have to make sure that you’re buying from another person—not the company. The cheapest books are usually being resold by other students.

These books, however, have a strong demand—namely, all the other students in your class. If you’re quick, you can get a good physical copy for maybe 25% off the new price. Occasionally, you can rent books for an even steeper reduction in price, but not all services provide it and, sometimes, it’s costly or time consuming to return it.

However, you have another option if you have a stable internet connection and a penchant for look at bright light—namely, eBooks. Or, even, rented eBooks.

With new devices and newer websites, there’s an ever increasing source for textbooks, and, with some patience, students can decrease the price from a month’s wages to only a week’s wages.

In the econ department, however, I can only imagine a group of econ professors trying to one-up each other on stories of how their students got their books.

Regardless, I now have to sit around checking tracking numbers every two seconds, hoping my books come in before assignments are due. In the mean time, I’ve been on YouTube and I was over joyed to find out the Dwight Schrutt (from the The Office) is 1) a person in real life and 2) has made a few YouTube videos. This one is my favorite so far:

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7 Responses to “The Feeling You Get When You Realize Your Brain Might Explode Into Confetti– Along With Your Bank Account”

  1. supashmo August 24, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    I remember being in college and refusing to buy books online because that was stupid. No, no, I was stupid. But that’s also what I loved about being an English major: you bought books, not textbooks. MUCH cheaper.

  2. Kay Rice August 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Ahhh yes text books, but it’s not only College, we live in a very upscale school district in Ohio, my son is a Freshman in High School this year, and a fan of your blog page as well, let me tell you about specific ISBN-9 books; 5 for Humanities and 1 for drama (Have you heard of “UrineTown”? I hadn’t), and as advanced as they are in having to have the most expensive calculators, flash drives, and we won’t go into photography class extras, they also are not permitted to use eReaders. Sigh. At least these books are classics (except maybe for the drama class one) and will find a spot in his coveted bookshelf with all of his other books.

    • Erica August 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      Haha, wow. I’ve never heard of buying books for high school class… well, except for summer reading. I haven’t heard of Urine Town either, but, from the title, I’m not sure I want to, lol. I tell your son I said good luck. High school is a tough time to begin with, and having a rigorous course load can make it seem overwhelming.

      • Kay Rice August 31, 2012 at 11:17 am #

        Add having Asperger’s on top of it. The kid is as smart as a tack though. He loves to read, thank goodness. Yea and the UrineTown book yuck… I’m almost tempted to read it to see what it’s about! LOL Hang in there!

  3. amyelsie August 26, 2012 at 4:37 am #

    Haha, my professors always say that “Now I know you guys don’t have a lot of money…” and then their booklists cost like $200. “But they’re really good books, you’ll be referencing them for years!” they reassure us. Ha! What a joke.

    • Erica August 26, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Haha, yeah, “You’ll be using them for years” is probably the biggest lie I’ve ever been told… right next to ‘middle school is fun’ and ‘of course Santa Clause is real’, lol 🙂

      • Kay Rice August 31, 2012 at 11:27 am #

        Santa isn’t real? Really, then who has been eating all my christmas cookies at night? 🙂

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