Thursday, 5 September 2013

Getting in Line: 10 Tips for The Bookstore

Each semester most U of A students swing open the doors to SUB with purpose and determination, clutching a textbook list in one hand and a pen in the other. In our sights: the bookstore. Whether you get your books three weeks before classes start, during Orientation or after the first week, we all end up spending time in an infamous bookstore line at some point in our university careers. As a quintessential part of an undergraduate education, I feel each student should approach the task with zeal, embracing each experience with open arms. As an attempt to make the most out of your bookstore experience, even if that means making the trip as short as possible, I’ve compiled a list to ensure your venture into our campus bookstore is as enjoyable and productive as possible.

Tip 1: Turn the task into a bonding experience – bring a friend or make new ones.

To be frank, if you decide to get your books during the first week of classes you’re likely going to have to wait your turn in one of the many lengthy lines. You’ll accompany hundreds of students at any given moment. So instead of going in alone, turn this experience into an opportunity to spend some time with your classmates. Meeting up with your friends before you begin your textbook scavenger hunt will undoubtedly help the time pass and ensure your memories will be much fonder. Or you can unleash your welcoming persona and make some new friends, chances are there’ll be many students by themselves and even more likely: they’ll be happy to join you.

Tip 2: Get a head start on your readings or bring your own book.

If the keener in you is dying to get out after a laid back summer, take the incentive to read the textbooks you’re buying and get ahead on your assigned readings which will likely be due in the days following your purchases anyways. This’ll save you some time, and we all know that time is extremely valuable in university. Bringing a book from home can be just as intellectually rewarding. So don’t just stand there while you wait to pay, crack open a book and absorb some knowledge!

Tip 3: Dress lightly.

Simply put: no unnecessary layers. Need I remind you that it’s still summer and it gets humid in #yeg, especially in buildings quickly reaching their maximum capacity, which probably happens in the bookstore during week one. So if you don’t want excessive sweat, stench or discomfort, take my advice and ditch the layers at home, in your car or at your locker – you’ll thank me later.

Tip 4: If you can, get there when the doors open, to try and beat the line.

If you are adamant on avoiding long lines and even longer wait times, you’ll have to get to the bookstore early. Visit the website and double-check the hours the night before. Show up moments before the store opens, or if you want to take it to the extreme, why not camp in SUB the night before? C’est la vie.

Tip 5: Bring water and a snack to quench your thirst for knowledge.

Just kidding, your actual hunger. Just kidding again, they don’t allow food in there, so eat and hydrate before you go in. That way, while you’re playing hide and seek with your textbooks or standing in line your stomach won’t be rumbling and your mouth won’t go dry.

Tip 6: Don’t cut in line and upset the jovial atmosphere, uphold bookstore etiquette.

Just don’t do it. It’s basically like academic dishonesty. You’re going to get caught and someone isn’t going to be pleased so hold onto your horses and relax partner, your time at the cashier will come.

Tip 7: Don’t be afraid to ask for help from a bookstore employee or another student.

It can get pretty confusing when you’re trying to find your textbooks; especially if you have to navigate through multiple sections of classes while avoiding bumping into other students (first-year English courses are notorious for this). Bookstore employees are there to help you so don’t hesitate to approach one of them, it’ll save you time in the long run and keep you from getting frustrated. Even if you happen to see another student who looks bookstore-smart, I’m sure they can lend a helping hand.

Tip 8: Make sure you get all your books at once.

That way, you won’t have to endure the line twice. So if you’re like me, this might mean waiting till you make up your mind about your classes (at the last minute, to be honest). This also means you need to check the bookstore website to ensure your books have actually arrived and are in stock and checking with your professors who haven’t uploaded their reading requirements. 

Tip 9: Make sure you hit the gym a couple days before.

The fact is: textbooks are heavy, especially when you have seven or more of them. Lifting some weights and breaking a sweat to prepare for the big day will give you the muscle power needed to carry your mountain of books, you won’t be sore the next day. Plus, who doesn’t want to improve their fitness?

Tip 10: Visit the bookstore ahead of time so you know exactly where your books are when you plan to buy them.

Although this tip slightly contradicts tip 8, going to the bookstore a week or two in advance of your actual purchase date can save you time when it really matters.  There are multiple stacks of books and each aisle is dedicated to certain subjects. Knowing where you books are, or will be, will keep you from getting confused while there are ten other students in your immediate vicinity.

So, whether you loathe spending money or get a dorky satisfaction out of buying your reading material for the next four months (like me), the bookstore is definitely part of student life. Try to get the most out of it and set the tone for the year to come because there’ll be lots of new and exciting student experiences for you to enjoy – stay tuned!


About the Author

Hey! My name’s Billy – a second year arts student still scavenging through the course catalog for that perfect major. I’ve recently developed a passion for journalism, professional writing and communications and hope to grow along with the team at YouAlberta. If I’m not engrossed in the latest episode of Big Brother you’ll probably find me being too emotionally invested in The Amazing Race or laughing at inappropriate jokes on the Internet.

When not feeding my reality TV addiction or scurrying to finish my latest assigned reading, I’ll be searching our campus for the most intriguing stories about diversity, academic success and the quirks that make our university the gem that it is. As a student communicator I hope to foster a stronger sense of community and belonging by sharing sentimental and inclusive stories to tap into the shared sense of pride we all uphold – I hope you join me!


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