I’m in my first year of graduate school and over the years I’ve acquired valuable knowledge on how to save money buying textbooks. I believe my sophomore or junior year of college onwards my parents had me purchase my books because I had a job. Buying textbooks from the bookstore can easily run you upwards of $200 per semester, and you’d be lucky to only spend $200. In fact on average students spend $900 per year on books. Here are my tips to paying as little as possible! This semester I had three classes and payed $45 total with expedited shipping. If I purchased everything new I would have had to pay at least $250-300.
Buy an older version
This book sells for a little over $2 but I wasn’t sure my professor would be okay with this edition because the second edition looked so different to me. It turns out she has the same older edition and is fine with me buying this version for class. The newer version sells for a whopping $71. I payed around $10 because I payed for expedited shipping but I still only needed to spend a fraction of the cost.
I used to feel like I needed the newer version because a book related to my career and I wanted to keep the newest version with me. I then realized that the new version today would be the older version in a few years and I could always buy the older copy when the price drops
I still remember borrowing a Chemistry book from a friend while many others bought the textbook new. My professor had the older version too so those who bought used were actually aligned with the syllabus while other who payed money for the textbook new were not.
Buy and Sell, avoid Renting
If you MUST buy the new version, some professors are annoying about this because the newer version has substantial changes, then buy and do not rent. I once rented a book and forgot to return it and was charged so much money. The only time renting worked for me was when I randomly stumbled upon a promo code to rent from a company for free. Also, when you buy you can sell your books back, sometimes for the exact amount you spent. This year I sold three books through Amazon I should receive back around $35-40 if everything works out. (occasionally things can be lost, I haven’t experienced this yet) By selling my books, I have money to buy books for this school year.
When you rent, your money is gone and you only have the book for a fixed amount of time. I remember being forced to buy a small set of books for $75 and feeling so annoyed about it until I sold the set on Amazon for around $60. Amazon will take a percentage of your purchase but chances are you can take a look on your bookshelf and see if you have any books that can sell for a decent amount. Normally I will only resell a book if it can sell for at least $10 because otherwise I don’t make enough money back to cover shipping or even my time. When shipping you pay based off of the distance you are shipping to as well as the weight and size of a package.
Look for PDFs or Borrow from friends
This summer I was supposed to buy a book for class that would cost me $40. I looked around the internet for a little bit and found a free trial to a website that would let me download the textbook for FREE. I shared this with other people in my class (13 total) and we all saved $40 from this free trial.
Borrowing from friends is also great because if you’re friends are nice- you pay nothing and just return the book later. We ended up barely use the textbook in class so it would have been annoying to pay money for a book we didn’t use.
Your Library May Have your Textbook!
If you’re willing to sit in your library and scan pages or just stay there and read, you can save a ton of money by using your library’s reserve system. I normally don’t do this because I like being home when I do homework but my brother lived on campus and found this as a great alternative to buying his textbooks.
It has been quite some time since I’ve posted! I was away for the last 12 days recharging and spending time with my family in India. I start my masters program tomorrow so I wanted some time to relax before delving into school work. I have a few pictures to share from that trip but I’ll post those later on.
In the pictures above I’m wearing a traditional Kerala sari but with a fancy “ready made” blouse. You need staple Indian clothing, I never realized this before, and a gold sari blouse is definitely one necessity. Gold goes with so many sari patterns and this blouse in particular makes the entire outfit look more classy, at least in my opinion.
I purchased this sari blouse from Kaylan Silks for around 1,500 rupees but I’m wary of this company because my cousins warned me against purchasing from Kaylan Silks for many reasons (overpriced, bad quality of clothing). The sari is from Seemati and was actually purchased for someone else but I kept it because we were supposed to buy a different pattern for said person but misunderstood.
As always thank you to Keziah for such amazing pictures.
Hello friends, above is a video of a college “vlog” that I recorded a few weeks ago. It’s crazy but I only had a chance to edit this video today! I’m so grateful that I do not have school today! I love vacations and this break came at the perfect time. For those of you still in school, doesn’t summer vacation feel like a weird time of the year? It always has, at least for me. It’s an odd period of my life because I find myself having more free time than I’m really used to.
I love breaks, but I actually also really love school. Hopefully my video will give you an idea of why I love school so much!
I hope you enjoy the video! Let me know what kinds of videos/blogs you want to get from me. Comment down below and I can try to get one up for this Sunday. (How to Video, Vlog, Answer Video on a particular topic…)
I hope you have an amazing Thursday!
It feels odd to write down, but it’s so true. Everyone feels sad sometimes. I don’t know why I imagine that I am the only person who feels the way I do when I go through rough patches in life. Sometimes that sadness can seem engulfing and the scariest thing in the world to do is to address what I’m feeling. The bible says that there is a time for weeping and a time for rejoicing. But all I want to do is rejoice!
I’m sure that there are lots of people who feel the same way that I do. I don’t want whatever situation I’m going through to burden others. I don’t want other people to know that I’m experiencing pain. And I imagine that everyone really is exactly the way they appear to be on the surface. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
Absolutely everyone we meet in life is facing his or her own battle. And this is all the more reason to love and to love like never before.
My mother was the first person to make me realize this. She told me to be kindest to the people who seemed the meanest. Because when you stopped and took time to get to know them, it’s like peeling an onion! There are layers and layers underneath and everyone has a reason for being the way that they are.
In particular she told me there was a woman who she saw daily who seemed to hate her. It’s so hard to love those who hate us. The bible can vouch for this fact. But she told me that when she learned of the pain this woman experienced in her life, she suddenly understood the bitterness. She understood it instantly. And her love for this woman was not in vain, now they’re actually really great friends!
The perfect biblical model for this kind of compassion is embodied in the life of Jesus. He looked at the defects and the outcasts of the world and somehow he chose to love them. I guess he saw us in a way that we cannot even see ourselves. It’s funny because sometimes it’s not even people who are putting these labels and ideas on us. We do it to ourselves.
If there is anyone like me, who is reading this, please know that you’re not alone. Sometimes I feel so sad tears feel like tiny needles shooting from my eyeballs. Or so angry that my veins will burst! Or even so happy and loved that I imagine my happiness is contagious. We are not our emotions or our temporary feelings. Feelings change. And we are never ever really alone, never at all.
Her name is Julie, or that’s what she tells people anyway. Julie is her American name. Her real name is Yinjuan. That’s her Chinese name. I asked her if I could share her story because I thought it was incredible. She told me she didn’t think it was interesting but to feel free to write about her.
“There is no such thing as genius; it is nothing by labor and diligence.”
The above quote is what fuels her drive. That small sentence. That. It’s funny how powerful words can be. How the smallest sentences can mean more than words resting on sentences sitting on paragraphs squeezing through the margins of your page. The smallest sentences are sometimes the most powerful. And the smallest words hold the most meaning. It’s kind of like how you can tell someone over and over again that they’re beautiful. But if just once you call them ugly- that’s all they’ll remember. Words are eternally powerful.
English is Julie’s second language, her first being Chinese. She has been struggling with learning English and communicating for the past 10 years. She came from China leaving everything and everyone she ever knew back in high school. She didn’t know America would be the way it is. Apparently they didn’t really tell her how it would really be like. She stepped into this country, not knowing a word of the language.
I’m a communications tutor and I was helping her with her personal speech. She had everything written out and wanted to see if her structure and format was correct. If her tone, rate and voice sounded good to me. But as I listened to her give her speech, I could feel my eyes filling. I was so happy but my eyes were filled because this girl had such a drive to succeed, even when circumstances seemed unlikely.
We take it for granted every single day but the ability to communicate is one of the most important things we can do as a human being. And when that ability is taken away from us the results are debilitating. Imagine being tossed into a completely new place without even being able to communicate the simplest of thoughts or desires. That’s what Julie has to struggle with, but she knows that hard work pays off.
After our session was over, I asked Julie if she wanted to fill out a raffle for my club, InterVarsity Christian fellowship. She then told me that she was Christian, in fact she converted a year ago, in America. Someone took her to church and she became a Christian. Someone did that for her in her life. Someone was willing enough to do that.
She filled out the raffle and checked off every box requesting information for everything. She told me she was busy with work but would try.
Julie understood how valuable her life was. She realized how valuable it was and for this reason she wanted to keep fighting. Please realize how incredibly valuable you are. How precious and important you. If not to anyone on this earth- to God. And when God loves you, the opinion and faltering opinions of others are irrelevant.
I believe Julie will succeed in her quest to really know English. I believe it because she believe it too.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me
Quiet Time, oh how I had hated quiet time so very much when I first started doing it. For those of you who are unfamiliar as to what quiet time is, it’s basically time you spend alone with God. As an extrovert the idea of spending an entire hour of my day alone praying and reading the bible felt like complete torture.
I love being a part of group discussions, being around people and sharing ideas- but being alone? No, thank you. Because being alone means spending time with me and God. Just the two of us together with nothing else to really distract me from his presence. All of a sudden those early mornings I would dedicate to God would be interrupted because my bed looked extra comfy.
It wasn’t until I listened to a Francis Chan Sermon earlier a few days ago that it dawned on me why I hated quiet time so very much. Quiet time requires me to spend time with God alone and God sees right through me. I can very well fool everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis; I can even fool myself. But the one person who sees right through me is God.
That’s so intimidating! The entire creator of the universe wants to spend time with us! He knows our innermost thoughts and can see right through every word that we speak. I remember a friend of mine asked me when was the last time I spent just immersed in God’s presence; I had no good answer to give. The problem lies in the fact that at the end of the day I didn’t want to spend time in God’s presence. I wasn’t hungering after him in a way that made me want to spend time with him.
I remember back when I was younger I would spend time in church and our pastor would tell us how important it was to read the bible daily. My parents sounded like a broken rec was ridiculous. I lacked a personal relationship with God and the extent of my relationship to my father lasted for 3 hours on Sunday mornings.
It was because I didn’t really want to know God that I failed to realize the importance in pursuing him and spending time with him. The thing is that when we start really developing meaningful relationships with people- we want to spend time with them. It’s not a chore and it shouldn’t feel like work. When you like being around someone, you will make time for him or her. Why can’t the same go for our relationship with God?
When I think about quiet time the first bible character that comes to mind is Daniel. For those of you who may not know why Daniel was, he was a bad a$$! When he was in the king’s presence and expected to eat the King’s food- he didn’t. He only ate things that were pleasing to God and he was actually healthier and plumper than everyone else around him. It’s kind of funny that being “plump” was seen as such a positive back then!
But back on topic, I want to specifically look at Daniel in the lion’s den though. A decree was published saying that no one would be allowed to pray to anyone other than the king. But, how did Daniel, someone so passionate and in love with God respond to this?
In Daniel 6:10 it reads, “…when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
He didn’t stop praying to God just because other people told him that he was not allowed to. In fact he prayed with his window opened, because he was unashamed of his beliefs. He knew his relationship with God and he knew that God was much more powerful than the King who told him not to pray. What I find so funny and even a little bit sad is the fact that if this had happened to me today, I probably wouldn’t have even notice the decree at first. Sometimes I don’t pray when I am encouraged, how I can pray knowing that I will be persecuted for doing so?
We need to become the Daniels of our generation. We need to be so passionate and in love with God that we are confident of him and what we believe in. And the only way we can achieve this is by making time daily for God in our lives.
Only nine percent of people have their dream jobs. NINE percent, how crazy of a number is that? I grew up in a Malayalee household, this means my parents are from Kerala, India. I grew up being told to look for a job with stability. Available options included becoming a doctor, nurse or engineer. Anything else was simply inadequate. I bit the bullet and told my parents I wanted to be a business major, they were not happy but they accepted my decision and even pay for my college. I am incredibly grateful in this regard because I know so many people who are forced to study something they do not like.
With this being said, I’ve recently changed my major to Corporate Communications, a field I find myself incredibly excited to learn more and more about. At the same time, I am constantly met by opposition. The funny part is that this doesn’t even really come from my parents, but my friends who have chosen to take the traditional path for my culture.
One of my closest friends is studying Pharmacy in a six year program, something that is incredibly grueling and difficult to pursue. She is currently in her sixth year and pushing forward. Because of her major she knows that she doesn’t get that much free time during the week. She knows that she doesn’t even have much time to spend with friends because she needs to study. But the prospect of such amazing job security and stable income is enough to fuel her through the remaining four to five years of college that she has left.
Because she is a close friend of mine, we talk together about things like our majors. And because she is a good friends, she tries to be honest with me. The way she sees it, of course I should try to get a job I will like but I should find some sort of middle ground. Meaning a job that I can see myself doing, maybe not loving, but a job that can give me a steady and secure source of income. Student loans are no joke and four years is a long time to waste.
The fact of the matter is that I know that money does’t in fact guarantee my happiness. Just as the little info graphic above shows. Right now I’d rather take the risk and try to get a job in a major that is incredibly competitive than give up on my dreams for the secure road. If I was meant for the secure road I would have gone to medical school a long time ago and pushed myself to get through. But I know that wouldn’t make me happy, in fact I believe it would make me feel miserable.
The thing is that God created me just as I am for a reason. I am Nina. I like certain things and dislike others. The entire world of incredibly diverse and different people who are not all meant to doctors and engineers. In fact some of them really are made to do that, and I am happy that they are passionate about helping people and building things. But this mold is not a one size fits all kind of thing.
I might change the way I feel about this by the time I graduate but right now I refuse to major in something I do not love. I want to take classes in which I take notes because I want to, not just because we have a final coming up. I want to learn about things that will actually impact who I am as a person and who I want to be. Majoring in Corporate Communications will do that for me.
I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. My school work, friends, future, family, and everything in between. And when I was so busy thinking about everything going on in my life, I failed to remember God.
It’s funny isn’t it? No, it’s not. It’s a little bit sad.
For the entirety of my life I have been a “christian” but I fear I’ve been a Christian in name alone. I go to church, I follow my commandments but I fail to give God all the glory and honor he deserves. And what amazes me is that God see this girl who puts him last many times, who forgets him.. Somehow he still deems me worthy of his forgiveness, his love, his mercy. There is no one in the entire world who would be so gracious, but my God.
Today I want to change the way I live my life. I want to say I am a Christian and be so grateful to know the truth. Because I am blessed by the fact that my grandfather was a believer and his before him. Their prayers still watch over me and cover me.
But their salvation is not enough to reach me, I need to make a decision to really and actually put God first.
So what does it look like when someone leads a God centered life?
Well everything else that goes on daily simply pales in comparison. You don’t read your bible because you have a daily quota, you read your bible because you just want to. You get lost in praying to God and wonder how time could slip so quickly away. And you change, 100% you change everything about yourself. Not because you make this conscious effort to change. But because you are so in love with God and so surrounded by him in every aspect that he influences every action you make.
When we choose to follow God and put him first everything else just falls into place. Philippians 4:13 reads “I can do all things through him who strengthens me”, and we can. That’s the amazing thing about God. There are literally no limits to what you are capable above, and God will direct in the path meant for you.
I want to live like that.
So in love with God that my life can be a testimony to him and that I can shine because of the light and joy he places into my life.
Mark 12:30 reads, “Love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” That’s no joke. That means something. Today for the first time I will try to understand what exactly that means.
I’m a prayer group leader at my InterVarsity chapter and just now I have been handed a figurative smack in the face. I had a really dull moment and realized that I wasn’t practicing what I was preaching. Not just that, I wasn’t even close to where I was saying others should be in their walks with christ. And I felt like such a hypocrite. I think that when I took up this position I imagined I would have to be perfect, infallible, and be at this peak with my walk with God. But I started writing this post right before my prayer group this past thursday. I ended up sharing how I was feeling and realized I didn’t have to be perfect. I was met by so much support from people who said they have all been where I felt like I was at the moment.
Earlier this week as a team (small group team) we looked at the passage in which Jesus calms the storm. What I found so ironic was the fact that here I was stressing and worrying about my own problems and forgetting what I had just learned. One of my team members pointed it out to another member but someone it just hit me so hard. How could I miss out on such an amazing message?
In this passage the disciples almost accuse Jesus crying out “Teacher don’t you care if we drown” when they are met by this massive storm that almost overfills the boat. The funny thing is Jesus was sleeping on a CUSHION right before. And before they could say anything else Jesus pulls a Chuck Norris move and calms the sea just by speaking.
How many times have we felt like that before in our life? Like the waters are overwhelming and we can’t stay afloat any longer? But the thing is God was always in control from the start. He has always been in control, will be in control and is in control right now. We never have to worry. For the opposite of love is not hate but fear because perfect love casts out al fear. We create this divide between us and God when we allow ourselves to be afraid like this. We are created to do so much more and be so much more in our lives.
I wrote this post feeling like a hypocrite but I realize now that I am just growing. I am not at a “peak” with my relationship with God, you cannot reach a peak and you can always know more and grow closer. I want to draw closer now and remember everything I learn. Because Jesus calms the storm and he can calm your storm too. Just give him full control.