It is getting to that point in the semester where rented textbooks need to be returned.
This week I took a walk through campus to Barnes & Noble to return a textbook I had rented for one of my classes this semester. As I was walking to the bookstore, I was thinking about this textbook and how much I had paid in order to rent it.
I was frustrated instantly. It made me think about the University's textbook system as a whole.
Semester after semester, professors require textbooks for their classes. Granted, most professors don't care how students get their textbooks. Whether you buy yours, rent them or find them for free online, as long as you have your materials ready, your professor is probably happy.
As a freshman, I got all of my books right away, fearing I might otherwise get in trouble or miss an assignment. I really did not bother to look at the price tags. Now that I am a little more experienced, I make sure to look for the cheapest option for my textbooks.
This semester was no different. I did some research on the books my classes required and realized I would have to rent or even buy some because they weren't available cheaper anywhere else.
My bank account was not happy; neither were my parents. But I would need these books in order to succeed in my classes. I had no option but to get them, no matter the price -- or so I thought.
We are now nearing the end of the semester and I have barely opened any of these books. I have been able to do assignments and understand the material without using them.
Returning them, I was furious. Why did I waste so much money on these books when they had done nothing to help me in any of my classes? My professors told me they were required, so why had I not been using them?
I don't have a problem spending money on textbooks that actually get put to good use.
Last semester, I took a writing course that required students to buy an AP style guidebook. It was not exactly cheap, but we used it in class every day, and I still use it for reference today. That alone makes the book worth every penny.
The problem comes when students are asked to pay ridiculous amounts of money for so-called "required" materials that only end up sitting around and collecting dust.
Department heads at the University, as well as individual professors within those departments, should reevaluate their textbook policies. After a year like this, it would do the University a great favor to save students and parents money where they can.
Elizabeth Crochet is a 19-year-old political communication sophomore from New Orleans.