Category: College

How to Save Money on Textbooks

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The cheapest way to buy textbooks can be described in a single word. Don’t.
Textbooks are costly and once you’re done with them you’ll have to try selling them to someone else. Trust me on this. I’m sitting with an entire box of matric study guides as well as textbooks for freshman. The worst part is the syllabus for both have changed so my books are useless.
Learn a lesson from me and try as much as possible to not buy textbooks. Instead consider these options:

1) Rent: I’m not sure if this is an option in South Africa but I have seen several sites in the US advertising for textbook rentals. The good thing about renting is that you get rid of the textbook once you’re done with it. Unfortunately you can’t highlight or make additional notes in the book.

2) Borrow: Check the local library for textbooks. I’ve never actually found any of my books but it’s worth a try.

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3) Download- Online sites have ebook versions of books. This way you never have to worry about reselling the book or a heavy bag.

4) Photocopy- Your campus library should have a copy of all reading material. If all else fails, photocopy the necessary notes. Sometimes this may be close to impossible (ie the book is too large to copy or is missing several pages) but if you’re barely going to use the book, it’s a great substitute. I’ve paid R120 for a photocopy of a R300 book. That’s R200 I could eat. Or pay fees (I’m lying. I’m going to eat it).

Buying

Sometimes you just have to give in and buy the book. Here are a few cheap ideas for books.

Second-hand: My Management textbook was too large to photocopy and the sections were getting cut off. I paid R250 for a second hand copy from a friend(everyone else was selling theirs for R400) and it was so worth the great marks I received later on. Bonus? She had added additional notes.
Check your student website as well as second-hand stores for textbooks if you can’t find them anywhere else. Sometimes these stores buy back which takes away another hassle. Yay!

What you should never ever do if you end up having to buy textbooks, is buy them new. You don’t need that hassle or expense. Talk to other students who have done the module to find out if you really need the textbook. And if you do then compare prices before buying.

College is expensive enough on its own. Any way to save money is a great idea. Especially if it means you don’t spend on a book you’ll only need for a few months.

Non-fiction Books Every College Student Should Read

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1) Anything by Cal Newport- if you haven’t noticed already, I’m a bit obsessed with Cal Newport’s books. He makes college so much easier with his advice. While reading his books I saw my grades pick up instantly.

2) Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht- this book is described as a “mentorship” and I cannot agree more. Aliza Licht has great advice. This is a book that you need to have highlighted or stick in post-its. From internships to starting a job, this book has it all.

3) All Work, No Pay by Lauren Berger – this book is an invaluable asset to anyone looking for an internship. Personally I found this book to be excellent help when dealing with cover letters and resumes.

4) Leadership and Soft Skills for Students by Cary Green- I like to think of this book as a how-to guide to success. Cary Green presents real solutions that work. I’m not going to lie- I believe in this book because several of the points covered here are things I believe in for my daily life. College students and high school students will both greatly benefit from this book.

Healthy Snacking For College

As a college student, it’s difficult to find snacks that are both healthy and quick. So I searched all over the internet and here are a few of the snacking options I found:

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-Bagel or crackers with cream cheese
-Yogurt with fruit or granola
-Dried fruit and nuts
-Bran muffin
-Pretzels
-Cereal bars(these aren’t good for a meal though. I tried them for breakfast and was still hungry)
– Peanut butter sandwich
-Chicken or tuna salad(these both are really tasty and healthy).

Why You Need a Tablet in College

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From my very first day as a college student, it seemed like everyone had a tablet or iPad. At the time, I had no idea what they did or why they were necessary but after getting a tab of my own for my nineteenth birthday it’s impossible for me to imagine life without it. Here are a few reasons why you definitely NEED a tablet of some sort in college.

1) It’s tiny- I like to think of tablets as small laptops. They’re also faster. Carrying a tablet instead of a laptop is less of a hassle on your shoulders as well as being more convenient.

2) You can load books on them- this is my favorite part of my tablet. I am able to store both my assigned readings and my novels on one device. Granted this presents problems as I can sometimes be easily distracted but it’s great that I can work and relax with one item.

3) It increases your productivity- the
endless variety of Android apps ensure that I am as productive as I can be. If my to-do lists demand I’m able to read, draft essays and conduct research if I need to.

4) You can watch movies and TV shows- I’ve yet to meet a college student who isn’t obsessed with a show or three. Having a tablet allows you to keep up with your shows whenever you can. Needless to say, I divide my time between college and my Friends.

Do you have a tablet or iPad? What are your favorite apps for college?

5 Tips For Improving Your Productivity in College

My words to live by are “Work hard, party harder”. This is excellent advice especially if you’re in college. But how do you manage to be productive when you’re just not feeling it? Here are a few tried and tested tips to help you be as productive as possible,

1) Keep a constant routine- have a set time for sleeping and waking up. Try as much as possible to stick to this because it reduces the possibility of you falling asleep in class. Yes, we all want to sleep in class because it’s boring but that’s not very productive.

2) Pay attention in class. Always record the lecture- when I first started sleeping in class, it was totally accidental. First my mind would wander off, then I’d try to rest my eyes and then I would jerk awake. If you know you’re tired/lazy, record the lecture to listen to later. This works especially well for assignments since you can go back and play the recording to find out precisely what is expected of you. Also when you’re actually listening to the lecturer it’s easier to remember what’s being covered in class.

3) Write things down as soon as possible- use your school calender plus your syllabi (is that the plural of syllabus? I’m not entirely sure…) and note down important dates such as tests, projects, when campus closes and reopens as well as the last day for changing your courses. This will a) help you to see important dates and b) you’ll know when you’re busy with a pile of essays or tests.

4) Set your own deadlines- if you have your own deadlines preferably a day or two earlier than the actual due date you’ll get work done faster. You may also have enough time to get a tutor to edit your essay or cover last-minute concepts with your lecturer.

5) Start work as soon as you get it- I don’t mean write the essay or read 3 chapters for that test. Do something small just to make a tiny dent in your workload. List points for your essay or skim a chapter in the textbook. It makes things easier if you start off small. You’ll eventually be able to tackle the entire essay/textbook.

The Playground of Randomness Guide to College: Orientation

I remember my Orientation as if it were yesterday. Though in reality it was 2 years ago. Time really does fly!
Orientation or O-week as some call it is possibly the most exciting time for a freshman. It’s your first look at the campus when you know with absolute certainty that you’re going to be a part of it.
But try not to lost yourself in all the magic of the moment. Orientation is your time to familiarise yourself with campus and learn how everything works.

What Actually Goes On:
Some colleges may be different but my Orientation started with a long speech from the Chancellor(that I sat outside for since I had heard the same speech when I arrived for Parents Day).
Most colleges have a campus tour. Pay careful attention to this because not only will it prevent you from getting lost, it will help you understand how everything functions.
Handouts about courses are passed out some times. You may even get a handbook- guard it with your life! I have both an actual handbook and a pdf file. I also stalked my college websites and social networking sites for months before I was accepted but I don’t recommend that. I still feel very creepy about that. But my point is- I was super-excited about college. And you should be too.

What I Did:
(Or also known as ‘Mistakes I Made That You Should Avoid’)
I swear there’s gona be an entirely separate blog post on all my college mistakes but that’s for another day.
For Orientation my campus tour guide wasn’t audible to the people in the back of our 40-50 people group…so I skipped the tour and went with a friend’s cousin instead.
The plus of this was that she completed our registration for us(ie the part where you choose your classes) and we didn’t have to wait in a line. We also got our own private tour.
The downsides was that I didn’t receive a handbook(the copy I got was one that I found) and I also was lost about how to use the library and the computer labs.
Eventually, with the help of a few older students who were friends, I managed to figure out what needed to be done but I still have no idea how to use the library copier or how to print out anything should I need to.
I also missed out on fun activities. I knew colleges had events for freshmen to bond over but only saw the flyers once my first official week of college had started- which was too late.
Bottom line- do yourself a favour, attend your Orientation and pay attention! You’ll be grateful later on.
Xoxo

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