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Shopping for Class Supplies: an Adventure in Itself

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Registering at a university and enrolling in classes is a time-consuming feat against which no college student will argue, but the adventure doesn’t stop there. Preparing for classes can be a hair-raising and expensive experience.

Yes, some people like to shop, especially if it’s for clothes or gadgets—we all have our favorites—but the process is not as easy as one would believe.

Take, for example, going to get a class book or books (quite a few classes, as every college students finds out, will necessitate an entire collection of books, each of which costs a small fortune) and finding that they’ve already been snatched up by early-birds or haven’t even come in yet. To make matters worse, the class requires the book right away. Yes, the professors are usually very understanding about this, but those poor unfortunate souls who have to resign to temporarily sharing a classmate’s book have to do without while not in class, so they immediately fall behind on a thirty-page reading assignment because they have nothing to read. This nightmare flashes through one’s mind as s/he stands over an empty shelf in the bookstore, wonder what all went wrong. When this happens, one can’t help but get the deep-rooted feeling that the semester is definitely not going to be a bright one. In the end, one realizes that a student needs to be a psychic to succeed in class so s/he can foretell which books will be needed and then buy beforehand, as long as the financial aid refund has already been issued or mom and dad have provided enough cash right off to handle it. If the book hasn’t gotten there on time, everyone is SOL.

Getting the notebooks and writing supplies is usually easy and cheap, if one needs them in the first place, which is not always a given. In the computer age, electronic devices are usually required. As enjoyable as it is searching for a brand new laptop, this device would have to be the most expensive item on the list. The only consolation to handing over one’s treasure chest for one is that it can be used in a multitude of classes, even after graduation. In the meantime, however, one is gazing at the shelves with glazed eyes as the price tags jump out in taunting laughter. Well . . . one can always use the library computer lab, if a computer is available (this is not always a given).

For art or science classes, weird implements or specific supplies are always common, and these are always expensive, due to their uniqueness or make. When these are required in abundance, quite often one will be traveling all over town because, sure enough, one store will not have everything.

Above and beyond everything else is confronting a crowd. This nightmarish circumstance would send the most courageous home to weep under her or his pillow. Waiting in line is bad enough, but when the crowds turn into raging animals that trample, one can’t help but think of coming back at a later time. By then, however, everything would be gone.

Then, of course, there’s cramming everything into one’s car—a magic act that even the most awe-inspiring illusionist can never pull off.

The experience is one of those that college students will never forget, and mainly because of its negative or amusing impact. In the end, one must suck it up and take it on. Like death itself, this is an unavoidable inevitability for every student to face. As a matter of fact, shopping effectively is among the many important skills one learns during her or his tenure in college.


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