Textbook vs. E-Book: Which Should I Choose?

Textbook vs E-Book

The new semester is coming up. You go in line at your local textbook store and you ask for the textbooks you need. The customer service representative asks, “Would you like a physical copy or an electronic copy?” You stand there, stumped. You had not thought about this question before walking in the store. You just assumed that the representative would give you a load of books and send you on your way. How do you answer the question? Which version is best for you? Hopefully this blog post makes your decision, an easy one.

Pros of the Textbook:

Textbooks are tangible. Most students have physical copies of the textbook and odds are, the instructor has a physical copy of it as well. Textbooks are good for tactile learners who enjoy highlighting and underlining key information while studying. Most textbook stores, including Textbook Solutions, allow students to write in rental textbooks.

Textbooks are traditional. It is easily accessible and does not require any online setups or configurations to use it. For the technophobes who prefer the old fashioned way of learning, textbooks are friends.

Cons of the Textbook:

Textbooks can weigh anywhere from a pound to five pounds or more. If you multiply five by the amount of textbooks you need for the semester, you are looking at 25 or 30 pounds of textbooks! Undoubtedly, textbooks can cause physical strain and can become tedious to carry for any length of time.

Textbooks can run the risk of getting damaged. Physical textbooks are essentially pages and pages of paper. And paper can easily be ruined by water. So if it is raining outside or if you spill your drink, the textbook can get ruined and you may have to pay a fee.

Pros of the Electronic Book:

Unlike the textbook, an electronic book weighs as much as your smart device. There is no physical strain to carry the e-book and everything is compacted through one device.

The electronic books are always with you. That is, if you have your device in hand. Sometimes we forget our physical textbooks at home. Well, no fear! With the electronic book, you have accessibility to the textbook anywhere.

Cons of the Electronic Book:

One word: malfunction! Technology is unreliable at times and can go wrong in an instant. Have you ever had a network connection problem while taking a test or working on an assignment? If so, then enough said.

One downside of the electronic book is that you cannot take notes directly on the book. Granted, there are online applications that allow you to take notes but this may not be the most effective method for learning.

So which one do you choose?

Well, if you prefer something tangible and trustworthy, choose the physical textbook! If you are more of an “on-the-go” person who keeps the cell phone nearby, the electronic book seems like your option! At Textbook Solutions, we offer many physical textbook options as well as access cards for online e-books. As you’re starting to shop for textbooks for this upcoming fall semester, be sure to check us out and Save More Green!

Ways to Save Money in College

As a college student, saving money can be hard. We’ve compiled a list to help you save your hard-earned money. Believe it or not, we live by these tips too. What better way to provide advice than with some methods we’ve already tested ourselves! We hope you’ll be able to use some of these methods during your years in college and into the future. 

Textbooks

One of the first dilemmas you’ll face as a college students is having to buy expensive books for your classes. Let’s face it, you won’t even read half of the chapters in your class for some of them. Instead of buying new books, we recommend that you rent your books!

We’ve noticed some students purchase expensive books in hopes to sell them later on for an equal or higher price they bought them for. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Bookstore can’t always guarantee that they’ll buy your books back for the price that you’re hoping, or if they will be buying them back at all later on as their need for books fluctuates every semester. You’ll actually be saving yourself SO much money by renting!

At Textbook Solutions, we aim to keep our book prices lower than your on-campus bookstore and rent out books up to 90% off their new price.

Fitness

You should also look into what is included in your tuition: take advantage of the amenities that your university offers! If you’re looking to keep in shape while in college and are looking for a gym, don’t spend your money on a membership. Most universities have a gym for their students. All you’ll need to show at the door is your student ID. You can get fit and stay active without spending more money!

FOOD

On a similar note, we know that some classes can be super time consuming when it comes to homework and assignments, which may limit your meal times. Don’t let that pressure you into eating out every day. Many universities offer meal plans included in the tuition that will give you access to the cafeterias and on-campus restaurants. It’s already included, so you’re not spending more money by eating out!

One healthy, money-saving tip for eating and drinking is to always carry a reusable water bottle with you. It’ll not only help you in staying hydrated but also save you money. If not eating on campus, you should also consider the time of day that you go out to buy your next meal. We highly suggest visiting your favorite place during Happy Hour! Restaurants are more likely to be having special offers during that time.

Resources

In addition, most universities have a computer lab that allows you to print all the documents you need for free. Instead of having to purchase a printer, paper, and ink, all you’ll really need is your USB or Google Drive information and your school ID. You won’t have to worry about not having enough ink or paper!

Of course you’ll need a means of transportation to and from the computer on campus. While having a car can be useful, you can also look into taking the shuttle. If you live in university housing they most likely have shuttles all around – and the best part is, you don’t have to pay for gas! The shuttles on campus are designed to help the students get from their dorm to classes on time. We suggest scoping out the shuttle stops and checking out their itinerary.

Student discounts

People always say you should always carry your ID, and we couldn’t agree more. When you go out, never forget to ask if they have any active student discounts. If you’re in need of electronics/entertainment, Apple, Sprint, AT&T, Office 365, Best Buy, Dell, Spotify among others offer discounts for students! Restaurants like Dairy Queen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Waffle House, and Burger King can help you save 10% on your next meal. Don’t be afraid to ask if a place has any student discounts!

Budgeting

If you’re just not sure if you can keep track of your expenses by yourself, don’t worry! There are actually various budgeting apps designed to guide you. They’ll not only tell you how you’ve been spending your hard earned money, but how much you’ve been spending in transportation, shopping, dining, etc. Here are some budgeting apps you can use for free: Mint, Wally & EveryDollar. They can also help you in alerting you when your next bill is in addition to creating monthly budgets so you can stay within your ideal budget and save some moolah!

We know how hard it can be to save money while in college. At Textbook Solutions we aim to help you Save More Green. We hope that with these tips you’ll be able to do just that!

Dorm Room Microwave Meals

College is a huge transition in many of our lives, and it comes with so many amazing (and sometimes stressful) experiences! One of the biggest changes is going from living at home with your parents, to living either in a college dorm room or apartment. Living in a college dorm can be tough on your eating habits because it’s not very conducive to cooking. College dining halls are great, but sometimes you don’t want to get out of the dorm for every single meal! We understand the struggle, so we’ve found several recipes that can be made in your college dorm with just a microwave and mini-fridge! No more late night packets of ramen and spoonfuls of peanut butter!

Breakfast

  1. Overnight Oats – there are so many ways to make overnight oats, and all you need are oats, any type of milk, and whatever toppings you want! Most overnight oat recipes are super simple. All you have to do is combine oats and milk in a 1:1 ratio (½ cup is usually a good breakfast size) and then mix it up with your favorite toppings. That can be berries, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips, yogurt, peanut butter…the sky’s the limit!
  2. Microwavable Scrambled Eggs – sounds strange, but it’s so easy and healthy! All you need is a microwave-safe bowl, eggs, and a fork. You can eat it plain or top it with avocado, microwavable bacon, or salsa for a kick!
  3. Blueberry Muffin – classic breakfast recipe you can make in the microwave!

Main dishes

  1. Microwavable Mac and Cheese – ultimate comfort food! You can make this in a mug in less than 5 minutes. It’s also perfect serving size for 1 person!
  2. Baked Potato – that’s right, you can make these right in your microwave! Just pop that potato in the microwave and get your toppings ready – it takes less than 10 minutes!
  3. Vegetarian Burrito Bowl – for when you can’t make it to Chipotle! You can make so many variations of this depending on what toppings you have, but the base is so quick and easy!
  4. Pizza in a Mug – you may seem skeptical, but it’s a college dorm room staple! This recipe gives the basic ingredients, but you can jazz it up with whatever toppings your heart desires.

Sweet Treats

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie – for those nights you can’t get rid of your sweet tooth! Learn how you can make a homemade cookie in just a couple minutes.
  2. Strawberry Pop Tart – this could be a breakfast, but also satisfies late night cravings! Just like a pop tart, it has a sugary outer layer and jam-filled center – you could try any flavor of jam to mix it up!
  3. Coffee Cake – an indulgent treat you can make in a mug! And who doesn’t love coffee at all times of the day?

Test Anxiety? How to Relax and Stay Focused

The end of the semester is drawing near and summer is right around the corner! The only thing standing between you and binging on Netflix at the beach is one thing: final exams. The week of finals is always stressful and can cause anxiety in many college students. Last week, we gave tips on how to stay organized and prep for finals. This time, we have some specific ways to get rid of that test anxiety in the hours leading up to your exams! Here are 9 ways to relax and reduce your stress right before you take that test.

1. Make sure you’re eating right. Too much caffeine, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and heavy preservatives right before your exam can make you tired and sluggish, and affect your memory negatively. Instead, opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other healthy snacks and meals for the hours leading up to the exam. And don’t go to the test on an empty stomach! Make sure you eat a good meal beforehand.

2. Get some sleep! This goes without saying, but it’s important to get enough sleep before an exam. Cramming for 12 hours straight is only going to make you more tired and groggy.

3. Stop working/studying at least 30 minutes before going to bed the night before the test. Put away your laptop and phone: the blue lights from these screens can mess with your sleep cycle and make it harder to sleep. You’ll feel more refreshed in the morning!

4. Take a bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salt has magnesium sulfate, which helps promote calmness and relaxation.

5. Try aromatherapy! Essential oils like lavender, lemon, bergamot, clary sage, and jasmine are great for relaxing those nerves and clearing your mind. There are several ways you can use essential oils:

  • Put a few drops in your bath or shower.
  • Use a diffuser so that the oils are diffused all through the room.
  • Apply it directly onto your body, such as around your temple or your wrist. Be careful when you do this because undiluted oils are very strong and can irritate the skin. Make sure you have essential oils that are diluted in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil.

6. Focus on your breathing. It may sound silly, but deep breathing exercises can really help calm your mind. When you’re stressed, you often take short, shallow breaths and are not getting proper oxygen amounts through your blood. The next time you feel anxious, stop and take a few moments to inhale and exhale deeply. Repeat this breathing exercise (or find some other ones here) several times until you feel more calm.

7. Stretching and yoga can actually help calm your mind by releasing tension that’s built up in your muscles. Take a few minutes the night before your exam and the day of to really stretch out your muscles. You can even try a few yoga poses suggested here!

8. Treat yourself! The day before the exam, go get something small or do a short activity that you find enjoyable. This could be a sweet treat, a walk around the park, or whatever will help you relax and feel special.

9. Think positive! This is sometimes easier said than done, but part of why you may be so stressed is because you keep thinking of the worst that could happen. Instead of psyching yourself out, try to stay positive and surround yourself with people who will cheer you up and keep you optimistic. Remember, it’s just one exam and it’ll be over soon!

How to De-Stress and Prep for Finals

We all know what typical college life looks like the week of final exams: tons of students holed up in the library till 3am with a double shot of espresso in one hand, and a textbook in the other. Final exams bring a feeling of instant fear and pressure to most college students, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Below is a list of ways to help you de-stress and prepare for that dreaded finals week. Just remember, summer is right around the corner!

Get organized!

Often, we don’t take time to organize our schedule and study time and it leaves us feeling rushed and panicked. Before finals week rolls around, take some time to organize your notes, create a schedule for studying and exams, and even put together some study groups and schedule meeting times. Finals will seem much less stressful when you’re organized and prepared!

Exercise, or spend time outside.

When we exercise, our bodies naturally release endorphins which help you calm down and defeat stress! Don’t stay isolated inside the whole time; fresh air can do wonders and clear your head.

Make sure you sleep!

A huge college cliche is pulling all-nighters to cram for exams. This is very unhealthy and leaves you feeling drained and unmotivated. Getting sleep actually helps solidify the material you’ve studied, and you’ll feel refreshed instead of stressed. Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night!

Find something that helps you clear your head.

This could be music, meditation, yoga, massages, herbal tea, or anything that helps calm you down and get out of the frenzied mindset. Take a break for just 10 minutes and do whatever you find relaxing.

Plan your meals!

When it comes to finals week, the last thing you’re thinking about is cooking. Usually, that means fast food for 3 meals a day! This will only make you feel more sluggish and have sugar crashes throughout the week (not to mention take a huge toll on your wallet). Instead, take some time in advance to meal prep. This could be as simple as making tons of sandwiches and setting aside baggies of fruit, vegetables, and chips to grab and go! It will bring you relief knowing your food is taken care of and you don’t have to spend money.

Stay hydrated!

Your brain works best when it is hydrated. If you haven’t had enough water, or you’ve had too much caffeine and sugary drinks, you’ll feel more and more tired and distracted. Get a reusable water bottle and keep it filled at all times!

Don’t procrastinate on other assignments.

Some classes have final projects or essays due around the same time as finals, but you have weeks (or even months) to complete those. Don’t wait until the last minute to finish those assignments, on top of studying for exams!

Use positive self-talk!

What is your attitude like during finals week? Are you constantly negative and put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself to get perfect scores? Your mindset going into finals can be what’s stressing you out the most! Practice changing your attitude and using positive self-talk: it’s like having an optimistic voice in your head all the time, making you feel good and confident in yourself. There are actually studies that show that positive self-talk strengthens your performance and well-being!

Hopefully these tips can help you prepare for finals and not take as much anxiety with you. Always remember the bigger picture and what you’re working towards! It will all be worth it in the end!