Buying Books Blows

Even if you’re only a freshman in college, you know the pain of buying textbooks.  All that hard earned money out the window and then you can only sell them for what feels like pennies in comparison, if you can sell them at all.  It’s especially painful if a professor tells you a book is “required” and then you only use it once. Evil schemers.

I’m here to tell you how to save as much money as possible on your college textbooks.  I read my dear friend Megan’s post from a few days ago and I think $1000 a semester for books is blasphemy.  Blasphemy! Unless you’re in 8 or 9 classes (in which case I wish you good luck) your books SHOULD NOT be that much if you use the right venues.  I admit, sometimes it takes a smidge more effort to do it my way, but if it means saving a bunch of money I’ll put the time in.

To put it into perspective, I spent around $300 dollars on my books this semester and around the same last semester.  I’m only in 5 classes right now but I had to buy 18 books which is a pretty decent amount.  Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where you’ll have no other choice but to pay over $100 dollars for a book, but a lot of times that can be avoided.  This might happen to you if:

a. the book is rare or old-last semester the textbook my French teacher wanted us to have had been out of print since the 90’s so the only place I could find it was at my University’s bookstore.

b. the book is customized for a specific course at your school-all freshman at my school are required to take a Valparaiso University designed class we call CORE which doesn’t really fit into any subject category. As a result, if I were to transfer, there’s a large chance the credits from that course wouldn’t transfer over with me.  That also means my University designed the textbook so it literally does not exist anywhere else but here.

Besides these two cases, most books can be found in numerous online and offline locations.  Of course, your University will have all those books ready for you to order with one click, but looking somewhere else can mean the biggest difference.  At first I was skeptical to buy my books on any random website that claimed “We sell and buy new and used textbooks!” But to be honest, I’ve bought from at least 4 websites and haven’t run into any problems or scams.

I stumbled across this website: http://www.slugbooks.com and holy crap do I love it.  You enter the title or ISBN (I recommend the ISBN) of the book you want to buy and it will tell you the availability of that book as well as compare prices of it on 10 different websites! Awesome, right?  Every book is different, but with the majority of mine I found that http://www.chegg.com is always the most expensive and either http://www.amazon.com or http://www.valorebooks.com is your best bet.  Shipping can seem expensive, but I did the math and still came out on top.

I don’t know if I’ve said this yet but DO NOT buy your books from your University if you can help it! To put it into some more perspective, if I had bought/rented all my books at the cheapest prices my University was offering they would have cost me $600 without shipping. I cut my spending in half! To be fair, I know I won’t always be able to do that, but it’s worth it when you can.

So! I hope something I’ve said helps you out, even just a little.  And maybe in the future your book buying experience won’t blow so much.

Mich out.

#5 Dude, This Class I’m In…

really makes me reevaluate how I have been living my entire life. This class is the BOMB, literally, it blows my mind. The class is called African Diaspora and the World, but me and my fellow Spelmanites simply call it ADW. It’s a year-long course and for some, ADW sucks because readings are assigned every week and they range from videos to short reading excerpts from 4 different books we bought this semester. For me, though, this class comes quite easily since I already read so much as it is. My lecture class only meets once a week on Mondays for an hour and fifteen minutes, but everyone also has to take the lab for the class as well and mine meets on Wednesdays for the same amount of time. My teacher is really chill. He doesn’t try to be extra, he just gives us the assignment and basically let’s me live. I’m doing really well in the class because I actually do the homework and I haven’t missed all semester.

Oops, okay, so I still haven’t actually explained what the class is. Technically, in ADW, we’re supposed to learn about the migrations of Africans to all parts of the world and their effect on the modern world. We’re supposed to learn about different diasporas (which is basically people migrating and moving to different places whether by force or by choice).

Outside of the technicalities, I have learned so much about myself in ADW. Before I came to Spelman, I thought I had a good sense of myself and clear knowledge of my identity. But ADW forced me to learn not only about all of these people, but to question all the beliefs and ideas that I thought I knew all about. This semester, I have learned that being black, and being a black woman, COMPLETELY BLOWS! Now don’t get your panties in a bunch. I hold feminism and black pride dear to my heart, but ADW has forced me to view how women, and especially women of the minority races have been treated in different societies.

This semester I have been involved in lots of heated discussions with my classmates where I have to remember to breathe. I have learned that it is important to say exactly what you mean because there are at least 50 other girls who are ready to pounce at any moment. I tell you sometimes it gets so crazy that our teacher has to stop the discussion because people cannot get a word in. Lastly, I have learned how to hear; not just listen to people and have their words go completely over my head, but to actually try to comprehend what people are saying because everyone has a different opinion.

My favorite ADW moment this semester has to be our Performance Project. Our teacher assigned the class into groups at the beginning of the semester. They are small groups only 5 people. Basically, any group activity we do, we do it with our group. So when teachers started assigning the Performance Project after midterms, I started hearing really terrible stories about how groups weren’t working out and people weren’t pulling weight.

Sidenote: I got to witness this scary story first hand. So two of my roommates were in the same group: Let’s call them Player 1 and Player 2. I dislike Player 2, soooooooooooo much and she’s in a group with Player 1. Player 2 is rude and decides she does not want to go to the planning meetings even though Player 1 was the one to organize them. Instead she decided to sleep in the bed, while the rest of her group does all the work. Almost every day Player 1 came back to the room angry after she realized that Player 2 had skipped out on yet another meeting. So they get to the project deadline and Player 1 tells the teacher that Player 2 hardly did anything for the group. Player 2 then went to the teacher and lied and said that she was working all those times she was sleeping in the bed. *insert pissed face* So I was super angry for Player 1. The moral is, I didn’t want to be Player 1 and Player 2.

Back to the story: My group was really chill. We decided that we would do skits, and someone sang, and we read a poem. Even though everything was pretty last minute, we did really well in my opinion. Our teacher really liked it too.

But overall, ADW has been the best class I have ever enrolled in. It has so many interesting facets and I’m so excited for next semester.

Adieu,

Kennn 🙂

 

Also, I don’t know when this is getting posted, but Happy Birthdayy to my mommy!

……..oh and Happy Thanksgiving. *smooches*

Sabrina’s Declassified School Survival Guide

Seeing as I have been in College for about two months, I basically know everything there is to know about it. So below I have complied a list of ten tips to remember when embarking on your collegiate experience.

1. You might need to share a closet.

Say it with me, “this is okay”. Honestly, you won’t need half the clothes you brought. A lot of people forget that you will be buying things while in college. You are not shipped off to a foreign country with no money and an inability to speak the native language. I went to Chicago, which is the shopping capitol of the Midwest. Most of the clothes I brought will stay in the storage bins under my bed.

2. You might develop a slight addiction to caffeine within your first few weeks of classes.

It is going to happen whether you like it or not. You know that foreign teacher with the hard to understand accent who teaches topics you learned last year on a Monday morning? Good luck. Without some sort of stimulant, that class will become a snooze fest so be prepared.

3. Your roommate might need you to leave for an adult sleepover

This is okay. I promise. As long as you maintain the ‘no baby-making on my bed’ policy, are not judgmental about it and she knows when to take it to his place, everything should work out fine. Don’t try to teach your roommate about your personal beliefs; don’t look down on her for it. Fornication is a thing that happens, get used to it.

4. You might not want to do some things.

Everyone has different comfort zones but it is important to know that college is meant to be a time to expand your horizons not retreat behind your own personal borders. Try new things, I beg you. But don’t do things that you will regret.

5. Your prof might assign a paper the first day of class.

I’m sorry but it happens. Don’t complain. Don’t roll your eyes. You pay good money to go to school. Actually do the school part. The paper will be super annoying but begin your collegiate experience on a high note and try not to be downgraded to remedial English.

6. When things get scary, get help.

If you’re friend is drunk out of his or her mind and poses a threat to your safety or their safety, then it is time to call someone. Typically campuses have a “good Samaritan policy” of some sort which will allow you to get help without  getting in trouble. Be a good friend and make sure the people around you are safe.

7. Get to know your city!!!

I guarantee you that the city that you’re in has a plethora of things to do. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a college town or the third biggest city in the country, there is no reason to be in your room all weekend. Get out and make some memories.

8. You might feel lonely sometimes.

This is totally normal. You’re away from your family and friends, which can even make you regret going to the school you chose. Just remember why you’re here and the the support system you have at school. Then eat your feelings. After that you should be totally fine.

9. If you think you see someone from your hometown, say something.

Don’t let that opportunity slip by. Who knows? Your friend from high school might be on a Biology field trip from UW-Madison. And you might spot him from across a restaurant. And you two might make awkward eye contact then look away thinking that you’ve gone insane. THIS HAS HAPPENED. Just say hi okay?

10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Your roommate might be messier than you, you might lose you favorite sweater in the move, and you could possibly get a horrible grade on a test. Just take a deep breath, work out your angst and realize that these things happen. Then decide whether or not to fix it. You can always ask your roommate to straighten up a bit, go to your professor’s office hours, and buy a new sweater. Just calm down okay?

Much love!
Sabrina

#3 Dude This Class I’m In…

…is sending me mixed signals.

An Open Letter to PSYC 6:

Intro to Neuro, what have I ever done to you? All I want is to fulfill a major requirement! I read and read and read and spend all my free time with you. I go to lecture, and pay attention, except for the few times I fall asleep on you. But even then, I record the stuff I missed and listen when I can give you the attention you deserve.
So why, then, do you treat me so poorly? Is it because you don’t notice me among the 70 other people in the room? Or do our lines get crossed among the 7 chapters I have to know for every test? I understand that you’re worth just as much as any other class in the grand scheme of things, but to me, you’re the real MVP. What kind of Neuroscience major would I be without you? Not a very good one, I’d assume.
We get along so well when it’s just you and I for hours on end. The time seems to fly by as I flip the hundreds of pages that are jammed into each test. You’re really great in that way. Teaching my brain more about my brain is something so confusing that only you can explain it to me. You’ve taught me biology, anatomy, and neuroscience all in the span of 5 short weeks. And for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. You’ll always be a 10/10 in my life. I just wish you could say the same about me.

Confusedly,
~Anissa

Seriously, this class is giving me heartburn. I’m really interested in the material and everything but the amount of material we need to know for every test is obscene. We do one chapter every day and even though the material isn’t exactly tricky, it can get really complex really quickly. It is the brain after all. Right when you think you have it all down, you try to explain it to someone else and become confused all over again.
There are probably people who can learn mass amounts of information with intense specificity in such a short period of time, but I’m still trying to get a hang of it. Not that I have much time to do that. There’s only a month left of class which is strange. The best part about it is that we get to do corrections on every test we take for up to 15 points back. It probably saves everyone’s GPA. Plus, there isn’t any homework. We need to read the chapters to do well on the test, but even that isn’t technically mandatory. And there aren’t any midterms. While everyone else was studying nonstop for midterm week, I was like ‘lol what’s a midterm?’ That was great.
I think I might have the hang of the studying thing, so I should be prepared for the next test. Third time’s the charm, right? Another great thing is that the prof drops the lowest test grade. And you can be a participant in research, which can raise your grade one increment.
What I’m trying to say is that, generally, I really like the class and the material. I’m just not used to the quarter system as opposed to the semester system. All that said, I’d give it a solid 8/10 and majorly recommend it if you’re interested in neuro and are down for a ton of one-on-one time with a library and your textbook.

#2 Dude This Class I’m In…

Sucks. It’s Math 112, aka ALGEBRA!!

Let me start by saying I’m really not dumb… I got a full ride to Madison, so that must take some intelligence, right? But about this math class…

So back in April we had to take a placement test to see which math and English classes we would be taking to start our college career. I took the test on an early Saturday morning (I HATE MORNINGS!) and needless to say I was tired, even though I made sure to go to sleep at a reasonable hour the night before. I’m taking the test and realize that it is actually really hard, like the ACT all over again. I somehow manage to finish the test without having to randomly fill in bubbles on my Scantron within the last 2 minutes of the time allotted, but I’m still not confident in my scores. I get the scores in June, right after graduation. After looking at the Algorithm, I realize that if I had scored 6 more points (out of 840), then I would be taking Calc. 1 which is what I wanted, being that I’m a Biomedical Engineering major. ONLY 6 MORE POINTS!!!! *Insert angry face*

Immediately I call the advising office to see if the math department is lenient about scores since I was so close; I get a cheerful “Yes! You should be fine, don’t worry about retaking it.”

July comes around and I come to Madison for orientation. I ask about my scores and the advisor IMMEDIATELY tells me that I have to retake the math test. And I’m looking at her like “Bish whet?” -___- She gives me the option to take it that day, or take it next week, OR take it during welcome week when I move in. Taking it that day wasn’t going to work because I wasn’t prepared. And taking it next week was impossible because I had a flight to catch for Cali the same day. So I just decide to stick with what I have. The “my life sucks” feeling set in rapidly.

I get to Madison optimistic about the course. I walk into what looks like a computer lab for class, and it comes to my attention that the ENTIRE class is online. There are 3 different lecture sections in one class. There’s NO PROFESSOR! The 3 TA’s for each lecture rotate everyday between who is going to cover a few topics.

Okay so about the class specifically. It’s 3 credits, and I have to take it for my major. There are about 100 people in the class. We meet on Tuesdays & Thursdays for an hour and a half. And it sucks terribly. We get homework every time we come to class, which was expected. The issue is that I’m teaching myself. The TA’s go through maybe 1-2 topics out of the 13-15 we were supposed to read about in the homework. To make things worse, they go over the easiest concepts, and put the hardest ones on the quizzes and exams. I got a 62% on my first written exam and a 80% on my first online exam. So you can see how this is an issue for me. I’m used to getting straight A’s. What the hell is an F? The written exam was the STRUGGLE. There were 4 questions, we had an hour to do it, no calculator was allowed, and NO PARTIAL CREDIT. What in God’s name are they thinking?! So yeah, that’s why I got a 62%. I would most definitely not ever recommend this class to anyone, ever. But I’m going to have to suck it up if I want to major in BME. The struggles of Mia…

#1 Dude This Class I’m In…

…is the bomb.  So, here I am, sitting in the library, listening to the Legally Blonde Broadway soundtrack, fresh out of my Chemistry for the Health Professions class. I’m almost a month into the school year (time is passing way too fast for me!) and I think that after this month, my favorite hands down class is not my chemistry class, but my Nursing in the Jesuit Tradition class.

Okay, first I’ll get the boring specifics out of the way. It’s a 3 credit class that I have two days a week; Tuesday and Thursday. It doesn’t start until 11 a.m. and it’s my first class of the day, which is why I may be a little biased towards it (I don’t mind waking up early, but waking up later is always preferable). My teacher is Dr. Boaz, who is a really awesome lady. She not only teaches our class but she also works as a nurse practitioner and  does research for the Veterans’ Affairs Center in Milwaukee. She’s been a nurse for a long time, and she’s able to tell us a lot of things about nursing that she’s learned firsthand. There are only around 30 people in the class, which makes it easier for everyone to get their questions answered (however, these 30 people don’t include a male, which makes me sad because I’d really like to see nursing from a male perspective).

As a nursing major, I have to take this class. I really love it because nursing is something that I’m really passionate about, and I don’t mind reading and learning about it one bit. The homework is really only reading at this point, but I know we’ll have a midterm exam and a final exam. Other than that, our grades will come from journal entries and two projects. The journals all pertain to nursing and what we’re learning about during that week, which makes them pretty easy to write.

I’m really excited about our two projects, though! One of them is called a dashboard survey. Basically, my small group and I will head out into a neighborhood around Marquette and ‘survey’ the area. We’ll gather information about stuff that pertains to health, like how easy is it to access alcohol and tobacco products, are there grocery stores in the area, etc. The second project will be more of a research project where we’ll gather information about a certain health issue and present it to the class.

One thing that I’ve loved learning about so far is the history of nursing. My mom and grandma are both nurses, and I’ve always respected the profession because of this. But up until the mid to late 1800’s, nursing was actually the lowest form of employment for women! It was the last resort after prostitution! It wasn’t really up until after the Civil War that the profession started getting the recognition and respect that it deserves.

I definitely give this class a 10! It’s cool to see nursing not just from the science perspective, but as a social science, too. I’m not sure if you’re really able to take this class if you’re not a nursing major but if you are able to and have an interest in nursing theory and stuff like that, I’d definitely recommend it!