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.

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#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!