Mountain of texts

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I was always told, in the years before I first walked through the doors of the University of Regina, to brace myself for nonstop textbook readings. Last year, the majority of my classes were English and History, so textbook readings were almost mandatory. Going into this year, I decided that, regardless of the subjects I’d be taking, I’d fully commit myself to doing textbook readings. That lasted for all of, oh, four days. I realized that in the classes where textbook readings weren’t mandatory, I still did extremely well in the class, which made me ask the question: What’s the point? 

Textbooks, for the most part, are a waste of money. There have been countless times when I’ve bought a textbook and watched it gather dust on a shelf in my bedroom. Then, when I want to sell it back, the editions have changed, and I’m stuck with a textbook about speaking Spanish just because a few of the pictures and chapters have been slightly modified. I was talking with one of my friends, a second-year student at the University of Regina, about spending money on textbooks last week, and even he admitted that he’s wasted, so far, roughly $500 on textbooks that he’s never opened once. 

And that’s just the beginning. Simply put, I just don’t have the time to do the weekly lecture readings. Between work, extracurricular activities, homework, studying, and living, there’s no room to sit down for countless hours of reading what was already said in lecture. And my friend agreed with me, claiming that trying to gain extra understanding of the material isn’t manageable with all the other things going on in his life.

I’ve also had professors tell the class that a particular midterm is based solely on readings. Scared to death, I would go out and buy the textbook so I could study the hell out of all the material that was raised in the textbook, and not in class. But once the exam was placed on the desk in front of me, I looked at the questions – all of which had absolutely nothing to do with the textbook readings – and realized I could have studied the lecture notes and have done just as well, if not better, had I completely ignored the textbook. 

At times, it is appropriate to buy a textbook and do the readings. My economics professor assigns questions out of the textbook for homework all the time, but I wouldn’t really call the questions “lecture readings.” Even though we have questions to do out of the textbook, I still won’t do the readings that are applicable with them, and I’ll split the cost of the textbook with a friend to eliminate the damage to my savings account.

When push comes to shove, between money, time, and studying, I refuse and will continue to refuse to buy a textbook and do the lecture readings unless I absolutely have to. More times than not, the textbook and lecture readings are a recap or review of what was already said in lecture, so because of that I’ll stick to taking notes and paying attention in class.

Colton Hordichuk
Contributor

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