I don’t think I will ever understand people who buy all of their textbooks before classes begin.
I work under the assumption that resources to buy textbooks are scarce, and I usually choose to take the money that was supposed to be my behavioral neuroscience textbook and use it to buy five bowls of poke.
But working under the assumption that one will never need to buy their textbooks is frivolous, as there is usually a moment when the need arises. Here are a couple of the potential situations that will make you spring for the University Bookstore faster than you can say, “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.”
You figure out your professor wrote the textbook
OK, syllabus week is rough. Sometimes in the midst of having very little work to do, one neglects to notice that the author of the textbook’s name is the same as the lecturer’s name. While it could be the stunning accident of two Jimmy Johnson’s having a profound interest in microeconomics, chances are the professor will constantly refer to this textbook because they wrote it themselves. When the first inside joke is made about how glorious and truthful the textbook must be because of who wrote it is told, it’s a good indicator to buy the textbook and then find cool quotes to interject in class from it. This helps establish “street cred” with one’s professor.
There’s An Open-Book Quiz
The open-book quiz was practically invented to check to see if students have purchased their textbooks. There is usually very little value to the open book quiz, as most questions look for specific details that are of little consequence to the big pictures of units and topics. This is especially evident when professors include the exact sections of the textbook where one can find the answer, creating a quick divide between students who have made the textbook investment and those who have woefully spent their last $17 on a snow cone machine. Regardless, this textbook purchase will mostly sit unused as a nice paperweight on one’s shelf until the next Canvas quiz is released.
You learn there’s an e-book
The second worst part about having a textbook is the weight of the beast. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if the physical weight of a textbook is killing me more than the psychological weight of trying to deal with 16 credits, extracurriculars and two jobs all at once! There’s a sigh of relief when one realizes there’s a version of the book available that will not break their back, especially as these options are at the minimum $20 cheaper than a used physical copy. Think about it, that’s three burritos waiting to be had. One additionally can become that cool kid in the discussion that pulls out their laptop instead of a paperback when their section does a close reading and causes half of the class to trip on their charger.
The Midterm Just Happened
Okay, so question one didn’t go so hot. Or two. Or 57. When one makes it to the midterm coasting on lecture notes, sometimes the moons do not align in one’s favor and one would have to sing the alphabet song for a few seconds in order to get to their grade. This jolt of, “Oh my gosh, that was 20 percent of my grade,” provides motivation to purchase a textbook like no other. It’s as though one believes their motivation to study will kick in after spending $100 to get a hardcover edition shipped to their apartment through Amazon Prime. Unfortunately, the cost of motivation is not included in the purchase price, and the textbook will likely remain unopened until it needs to be returned to the rental service.