Tag Archives: textbooks

To buy or not to buy?

This post is contributed by Cissy Shen, Psychology Student and Student Representative on the FoHS Faculty Board

It’s the start of a new semester and nothing strikes more fear into the hearts and minds of students than the word textbooks. You see, it’s not the prospect of extra work and weekly readings that bring about this fear (although this anxiety usually kicks in the night before an exam).

Rather, it begins when we’re standing inside the Co-op bookshop, looking at our textbooks, facing the dreaded dollar sign and the digits that follow. And so difficult decisions have to be made: do we bite the bullet and buy our textbooks right there and then, or do we wait?

As a student who often chooses the latter option, I can attest that common behaviours of those who choose to wait include (but are not limited to): pestering tutors and lecturers about the necessity of textbooks for the unit, regularly checking bank accounts to see if one has been paid or not and contemplating whether alcohol or said textbooks are of more use to help one get through the semester. Unfortunately, students who choose to wait often forego textbooks altogether, as they feel they cannot justify “forking out” for something that is potentially only useful for one semester.

At the end of the day, whether students like to admit it or not, textbooks do serve an inherent purpose as they help consolidate knowledge and can provide useful practice materials in the lead up to exams.

In saying this, academic staff can help quench some of this fear and anxiety by providing more choice for students. This can be done by simply providing a link for the online edition of textbooks or informing students about other alternatives such as buying secondhand, borrowing from the library or renting from the Co-op bookshop.

Whilst it is ultimately up to the student, providing more options and cheaper alternatives can help encourage students to get access to textbooks, especially if price is a major deciding factor. Besides, who doesn’t love a bargain?

Cissy Shen

Bachelor of Psych (Honours) with a Bachelor of Human Sciences