When You Can’t Afford The Books

photo found on flickr.com and taken by Jennie

photo found on flickr.com and taken by Jennie

First of all, I think all of us are aware that the ideal is to buy the books.

One of the (admittedly smaller, but my favorite) perks of going to school is to build up your library for when you become a professional. This is especially important for future pastors and religious leaders. There are just so many different balls to juggle in these jobs that having your library of the best scholars in your field at hand is really a lifesaver.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of students who cannot afford their books each semester. I have been lucky enough that this has rarely happened to me, but this semester just happens to be a time that I cannot afford all of the books assigned.

So what do you do?

There are a lot of options, but this post will be about the different approaches to take when you use your course reserve at your school’s library (or some sort of timed digital scan of the book) and need good notes not only for class, but also for future papers.

I asked around to some friends what they do in this type of situation and here are some of their suggestions:

* I’ve seen people photocopy every page of a text book and put it in a binder.

* Take notes for now…and if needed for potential future papers, purchase.

* Scan chapters that are particularly relevant/interesting/challenging.

* As I’m reading, I put little tabs/flags on thoughts/quotes that I like. I then take the time to type up a few notes, so I have the most relevant info from the book in a Word doc.

* Use your phone to take pictures of relevant pages. Take a picture of the cover and the copyright page (for any future citation). Store in Evernote. Use Skitch to highlight or make notes.

* I tend to take notes and quotes in a word document as I am reading. It’s time-intensive, but then I have a searchable document, in the event I can’t remember from where the quote came.

* Outline the book with a one page summary of each chapter as well as typing up direct quotes that seem relevant.

I think it is important to ask around to friends and family on what they have done in this situation. Not being able to afford all of the books is a real problem for many students, but that doesn’t mean that it needs to hurt your performance in class.

Good luck!