It is a semester-beginning process that elicits both fear and utter dread in the minds of college students across the country, most noticeably right here at St. John’s.
Each semester, upon the request of our professors, we must trek to the campus bookstore, only to waste time, energy, and money to purchase books. Long-lines, overt rudeness and exorbitant prices are commonplace, leaving most students stressed, agitated, and broke.
The beginning of any semester is bound to be a stressful time for any student, as there are a multitude of adjustments to be made. Late-nights give way to early-mornings, daytime television is replaced by three-hour lectures, and paychecks are no longer used for fun, but to fund our education.
On top of that, there is schedule confusion, lack of parking, and long lines to be waited on at the Registrar or the Bursar. It would seem then, that with all that unnecessary drama, a trip to the bookstore would be a welcomed reprieve. However, that could not be further from the truth.
Upon entering the St. John’s bookstore, it is not uncommon for your blood pressure to rise and sweat to bead upon your forehead. Apparently, in addition to the stress caused by the crowds, it is deemed necessary that the temperature of the store to be set at nearly tropical conditions, at least for the first few days of classes. At the door, you must quickly hand over your backpack or you will be reprimanded, as it is now procedure to “check” your bag, which translates to putting it in an oh-so-safe cubby.
The search for textbooks once inside the store is an adventure, as you must do your best Bond impression and slink around corners, ducking and squeezing to traverse the unnecessarily narrow aisles.
Considering the ordeal that is book-buying, many students and professors alike have begun to seek out other options, most notably Ed’s Bookstore, located just off-campus. As a way of supporting local business and taking away from the monopoly that is the campus store, many professors order their books at this tiny neighbor, which despite its lack of space, is very accommodating and helpful.
Other options include the nearby Barnes and Noble store or the Internet, with popular sites run by Amazon, e-bay, and Half.com. Although many of these offer cheaper prices, it often takes longer periods of time for the books to arrive, which can create a problem in the fast-paced college classroom. However, if you have the time to spare, the bargains you can find on the internet are certainly worth the wait.
Unfortunately, the need for textbooks in the college setting is not something that is going to go away any time soon, and because of that, the campus bookstore shall remain. Still, discontent and dissatisfaction are not good for business, so changes must be made within the store or students will continue to seek out more accommodating alternatives.