Back in school: Tips from a fellow Bobcat to start fresh, save money
By Sarah Cobb
As a senior, I’m hustling through my final semester looking for the easiest ways and cheapest means of doing things. Looking back, I know that if I had asked around in the beginning — as a freshman — I might have found a few resources very useful.
Here are some tips I now use to save money and sanity during the course of a semester.
1. Hold off on buying textbooks until after the first day of classes.
Start the semester by preparing a list of all the textbooks required under your class schedule. An easy way to do this is to enter the University Bookstore and compile your list from their records, comparing the list to prices in the bookstore’s catalogs. There are also stores like Textbook Solutions that allow you to print your entire schedule with required textbooks listed for each course for free and with little hassle.
Once you have your printed list, hold onto it. Textbooks are my biggest concern in a new semester. I hate to risk buying a book I’ll rarely use. There’s also the risk of a new edition conveniently coming out at the end of the semester, leaving me in distress when I try to sell the book back.
To help avoid this, go to your classes during the first week to see if you really need your textbooks. I’ve run into some professors who required textbooks but cover all the material on the exams in their lectures, so remember to ask whether or not this is the case.
Most professors understand their students’ pain, and will tell you if you need to buy the book or if any earlier editions can be substituted. Nowadays, many courses rely on e-books and class websites outside of TRACS, so you will — without a doubt — have to pay for those unless your professor says otherwise.
2. Check the reserve desk.
The reserve desks on the third and fourth floor of Alkek Library are a huge resource I wasn’t aware of until after I spent $300 on textbooks during my first semester in 2008. Always double-check with the reserve desk when a professor requires textbooks for your class. By just giving them your course ID number, the desk clerks can find whether or not your professor — or a different professor teaching the same class — has ordered the required text to remain available on the floor.
If you have financial issues or are in a large lecture class, you can always make a request for your professor to reserve a textbook on the third floor of the library. It’s a simple process and professors usually honor these requests (especially if the required book sells out at the University Bookstore, so make sure to mention it in your request if your textbook is unavailable).
3. Take naps.
Now that your money’s gone, let’s talk about your sanity. To keep yourself healthy, you need a regular sleeping schedule. Consider a study in Japan that showed that taking a 20-30 minute nap can help increase your productivity along with your well being. Not only does a power nap help you retain more information throughout the day, it also releases stress, which could help with weight loss.
4. Take classes at the Rec.
Hitting the Rec Center is also advised for new students starting up a semester and looking for a new routine. The Rec Center is open to all students with a valid Texas State ID and offers group exercise classes for a small fee, listed on its website calendar.
Happy second week of school, everyone!
Sarah Cobb is a public relations senior at Texas State minoring in communication design. She will graduate in May.
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