Summer is just around the corner, that magical time for sunbathing, music festivals, and getting ready for your first year of college! A lot of you are probably super excited about buying all kinds of cool stuff to make your dorm room like it came straight from Pinterest, but don’t forget about the most exciting purchases of all: textbooks!

I know, I know. That word makes me (and my wallet) groan too. It’s important to know how to be savvy about textbook purchases, because they can run up a serious bill if you’re none the wiser. So I’m here to lay out all the options you have for purchasing textbooks, from our own campus bookstore to the Facebook Textbook Exchange, so that you can make the best choices for you and your wallet.

1. The Viking Bookstore

Our very own on campus bookstore. While this is not an actual physical place on campus,  it is arguably one of the fastest ways to get your textbooks. It also is super easy–you can select your term, course number, and section and it will take you straight to the book needed for the class. You can rent or buy textbooks from the Viking Bookstore, and sell back the ones you buy, for at least part of the cost you paid originally. You can also get the online version of a textbook from the Viking Bookstore.

2. Amazon

Amazon is another great place to do some textbook shopping. You have to be more careful about getting the right editions/volumes of textbooks, and sometimes you really have to poke around for a good deal. Amazon will also usually have the online version of a text available. However, Amazon also offers some great deals, like a free Student Prime trial, which lasts about 6 months. Prime works on more than just textbooks and gives students free two-day shipping. You can also rent books from Amazon, and shipping them back is free!

3. Chegg

I have never used Chegg but I know a lot of people who like it! You can buy or rent textbooks, and sell back used textbooks. Chegg also has the eBook option for many texts. They will often offer free shipping on orders over a certain price.

4. The Lawrence Textbook Exchange

Lawrence University’s very own textbook black market. Just kidding, it’s totally legal. A great resource if you are looking to get something fast and for a deal! This is one of the best places to get Freshman Studies books on the cheap, and you don’t have to pay for shipping. Students are also generally willing to negotiate on prices, especially for larger textbooks. The only downside is the limited supply (sometimes there will be only one person selling a certain text). Lawrence also has a bustling Closet Exchange page, if you’re looking to do some shopping for fun while looking for those textbooks!

5. Others

There are probably a few other places to get textbooks–eBay, which I didn’t mention for the reason that it sketches me out and the selection is limited. It might be worth it to check out buying used textbooks if you have a local college or university. The bottom line is to find a system that works for you. I personally like to rent textbooks, but if you are a highlighting fiend or worried about damaging a book, it might be worth it for you to buy. I would also recommend waiting until you arrive on campus to purchase textbooks. You might change your classes after talking with you advisor, and sometimes the professor will want you to have a different edition of the textbook than is listed in Voyager.

I hope this has helped clear up the textbook shopping process for you, and best of luck. Bottom line: don’t be afraid to spend some time looking for a deal before you buy!

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Finals and Farewells

by Daniel Bernstein on June 1, 2015

Hi everyone! What a quick term and year it has been. We’re miraculously already at the end of both, and it’s hard for me to believe that a lot of my friends will be leaving campus and starting their summer in a little over a week from now. This is our final week of classes, and then finals will be Monday through Wednesday of next week. Both of my finals are on Monday morning, so my summer pretty much starts on Monday afternoon! Until then, it’s a race to the finish line, as I try to finish all of my projects and assignments for my classes…and study for finals. Yesterday, I had my “clarinet final,” which was a juried performance of two pieces I’ve been working on recently: Carl Maria von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2 and Miklos Rozsa’s Sonatina for Solo Clarinet. These juried performances, or “juries” as we call them, are required for freshman and sophomore music majors, and although it sounds a little daunting, it’s actually not so scary. It’s basically just a chance for our professors to review our performance skills and make sure we’re progressing at the rate we should be. I performed for four of the woodwind faculty members, and they gave me really supportive and helpful feedback on what I did well and what I needed to improve on. My clarinet professor made sure that all of us performing juries yesterday were prepared well in advance, and we actually had several group meetings and performances leading up to the performance day to help make sure we were prepared and comfortable. I like to think of any audition or performance as just a fun opportunity to play my instrument and get the audience excited about the pieces I’m playing, and I think that helps a lot with anxiety and pre-performance nerves.

Now that my jury performance is over, it’s time for me to start preparing for my junior recital, which will be pretty early in the next school year during the fall! Performance majors (like me) have to do two recitals (one junior year and one senior year) following their freshman and sophomore juries. The junior recital is only a half/30-minute recital, and the senior recital is a full hour, but they’re actually a lot of fun to put together and prepare! I’m in the process of planning which repertoire/pieces I’m going to play for my recital in the fall, and I’m getting so excited just thinking about all of the different possibilities! I should probably make my final decisions soon, though, so I can have a definite plan of action for practicing over the summer. I think one of the fun things about putting together a recital (at least for me) is that it’s basically a chance to showcase my musical personality (as incredibly weird as that probably sounds…). A lot of the pieces I’ve played over the past two years have really influenced my growth as a musician, and many of them are pieces I really connect with on an emotional level and now consider to be important parts of who I am, and so the recital gives an opportunity to put on a performance that I’m really excited about. I suppose it’s very similar to a visual artist putting together an exhibition or gallery of their works…there’s something very meaningful and satisfying about sharing your creativity and soul with an audience in that way.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve realized that this has been a very musically exciting couple of weeks! In my music history survey class right now, we’re covering 20th century music, specifically serial music and minimalist music. Serial and minimalist music are very hard to explain well in just a few sentences, but these styles of music sound…very different…from most of the music that came before it. Some of the major composers of this era include John Cage, Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, and Philip Glass, and I spent much of last week listening to the music of some of these composers for my music history assignments! (Here’s one of them) Even just a few months ago, I absolutely couldn’t stand minimalist or serial music; it seemed to lack any semblance of tone, structure, melody, or anything pleasant or tolerable. But as I’ve been forced to study these styles in the past few weeks, I’ve realized that these styles of music are absolutely brilliant and beautiful! The inventiveness, the clever borrowing of romantic, classical and baroque musical ideas, the daringness to evade traditional structure and tonality…all of it amazes me in this music. This might represent a major way that the liberal arts education at Lawrence has really begun to transform and expand my way of thinking, and I think many of my classmates have been enlightened or transformed in similar ways. It’s scary and uncomfortable to challenge ourselves and break past our comfort zones, but it’s also so amazing and satisfying to discover or understand an idea or style of music or work of art that we never in our wildest dreams thought we could even appreciate, much less admire. After all, what’s life if not an adventure?

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This One’s for You, Class of 2019

May 19, 2015

Happy 7th Week, Lawrence–I hope everyone had a Reading Period as relaxing and rejuvenating as mine! We’re quickly approaching the end of the year, which means we’re just a few months away from meeting the class of 2019! May 1st has come and gone, which means we’re expecting a whole new wave of intelligent, creative, […]

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…and green as well!

May 17, 2015

Hi everyone! It’s already 8th week here at Lawrence…yikes! Our ten-week terms go by so fast, and I still feel like the term started just a few days ago! It’s been a really busy couple of weeks for me, but I’ve managed to relax and have some fun too. This past weekend, some of my […]

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There’s a city here, too!

May 4, 2015

Hi everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s already May! We’re just about at the halfway point in the term, and this coming Thursday will mark the beginning of reading period, our extended weekend following midterms. As the weather has gotten nicer, I’ve been able to spend a lot more time outside, which has been so […]

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