Your College Semester Explained by Bible Verses

finals 2

If “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable…” (2 Timothy 3:16), let’s see how it might be applied to the experience of a typical college semester. Happy finals, everyone!

 

When you decide to just “wing it” on your big presentation:

When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. (Matthew 10:19)

Then you realise you don’t know what you’re doing and you’re not making sense:

And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom… (1 Corinthians 2:3-4)

When the professor actually expects you to read the recommended texts:

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. (Philemon 1:21)

When that one student in your class turns in a paper twice as long as yours:

Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, please, how did you write all these words?…” (Jeremiah 36:17a)

When the class know-it-all decides to bless us all with their wisdom yet again:

…I will show you, for I have yet something to say on God’s behalf… For truly my words are not false; one who is perfect in knowledge is with you. (Job 36:2, 4)

When that one person tries to answer questions without having done the reading:

Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2)

And so the professor decides the whole class gets a pop quiz:

Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. (Job 36:3)

When one person in the group project screws up the grade for everyone:

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)

When the professor’s lecture is taking FOR. EV. ER.:

And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. (Acts 20:9)

When studying may very well kill you:

…Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. (Ecclesiastes 12:12)

…He who increases knowledge increases sorrow. (Ecclesiastes 1:18)

…Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” (Acts 26:24)

When you get your grade back:

For you write bitter things against me and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. (Job 36:26)

When you’re just holding on till break:

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion… (Philippians 1:6)

I press on toward the goal for the prize… (Philippians 3:14)

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (2 Corinthians 4:17)

When you throw responsibility to the wind and hang out with friends till 3 a.m. right before finals:

And behold, joy and gladness, killing oxen and slaughtering sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” (Isaiah 22:13)

When somehow you pull off a decent grade without studying:

The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15)

When the week before finals hits and suddenly ALL THE THINGS are due:

…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death… (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

But then the professor cancels or delays a major assignment:

For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; (Psalm 116:8)

When you finish a class you didn’t actually care about:

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. (Isaiah 43:18)

When you submit your last assignment and can taste the sweet, free air of break:

…The LORD has anointed me… to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

…neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:17)

James 1:5, y'all.

James 1:5, y’all.

If you enjoyed this, check out my post 11 IHOP Words IHOPers Use in Normal Conversations.

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How to Buy and Sell Used Textbooks Online

How to buy used textbooks online

This isn’t the normal kind of thing I post on my blog, but it’s almost that time of year again, (and I did reference my textbook buying exploits a while ago) so I thought I’d share some of what I’ve found so helpful. I graduated from Azusa Pacific University two years ago after transferring in from community college, and am now doing summer online classes in preparation for attending ministry school at International House of Prayer University in Fall 2013. That’s three colleges, around 50 classes, and around 150 textbooks. My parents raised me to be thrifty, so I’ve developed a bit of a system for getting the best deal on books, both in buying and in selling. Here are a few of the tips that have helped me and my family save hundreds of dollars on textbooks:

  1. Shop early. As soon as you get your class list and know what books you’ll need, start looking. Prices go up the longer you wait. This also allows plenty of time for your books to arrive.
  2. Compare, compare, compare! Open a word document or an email to yourself where you can keep track of the books you need and their ISBNs (trust me, you’ll be copying and pasting those ISBNs often!), and all the prices you find with links so you can easily hop back to those pages.
  3. Bigwords.com is your new best friend. This website is pretty much all you need. It will automatically compare prices on all the major sites, plus a few you probably haven’t heard of before. I’ve tried several price comparison websites, and this one is truly the best.
  4. See if your college has an “Underground Bookstore” Facebook page. This will be a place where students post what they have to sell or what they’re looking for. You can meet up on campus to make an exchange!
  5. Find out if you reeeeaally need the newest edition of a book. For textbooks, probably yes, for classics, probably not. Just make sure it has all the material. (Some books you can even read online for free!)
  6. Don’t rely on your college bookstore, but DO factor it into your price comparison. Sometimes, wonder of wonders, their used prices are actually cheaper than online.
  7. Make sure you calculate in shipping! 9 times out of 10, online prices are low enough that shipping won’t deter you, but do check. Half.com’s shipping for books is $3.49, compared to $3.99 on Amazon. (Remember that if you buy something locally, either from a student or the bookstore, you won’t have to pay shipping at all.)
  8. Pay attention to seller stats. Look for good ratings, and if possible you want someone semi-local. I always feel more comfortable buying from a “real person” rather than a big company, because in my experience their description of the book’s condition will be more accurate and helpful.
  9. Be flexible on condition. Yes, you want a nice book, but how nice do you need it to be? I very rarely buy “Acceptable” books, but I’m perfectly comfortable with “Good.” Although, if it looks like a good book you might want to keep, splurge the extra dollar or so and get a “Very Good.
  10. Other options, which I have never tried, include renting textbooks, sharing with fellow students, and photocopying/scanning a textbook. I would not recommend renting. It will be cheaper on the front end, but you won’t be able to earn back your money by selling the book afterwards.

How to sell used textbooks online

Now it’s time to do it all in reverse! A few things you’ll want to remember:

  1. Plan your timing carefully. The best time to list is a few weeks before a new semester when everyone is shopping for textbooks and prices are competitive. BUT, you don’t want to wait so long that a new edition comes out and a $70 textbook now sells for $3. Don’t repeat my mistakes.
  2. Again, Bigwords.com is God’s gift to college students. Best of all, they offer comparisons on online buyback sites as well as sites like Half.com and Amazon! These buyback sites are great, but be careful. Don’t be tempted by fast cash if there’s a reasonable possibility that your book will eventually sell elsewhere for a lot more.
  3. Some buyback sites offer store credit. Don’t do it. Who knows whether you’ll ever actually use it? For example, ecampus.com might offer you $10.00 in store credit for a book, but only $8.00 in cash. Make sure you’re comparing the lower price, since Bigwords.com will only show you the higher price. Also, some buyback sites, such as Textbooks.com, only accept a $10 minimum buyback. It might be worth it to sell all your books through them to get over the $10, or it might not.
  4. The best thing about these buyback sites, though: FREE SHIPPING! They give you a label to print out and all you have to do is take it to the post office (or UPS store, on some sites like Textbooks.com).
  5. Most of the time, your choice of listing will come down to either Amazon or Half.com. Unless the price is widely different, my advice is to go with Half.com every time. Why? Amazon takes rather outrageous commissions, about 18%. Half.com takes only about 15-12%, depending on the price of your item.
  6. Most people only shop on the major sites, like Amazon and Half.com. You might be able to list for higher prices on more “fringe” websites, but keep in mind that pretty much everyone will have already looked at the lower prices on the big sites.
  7. Take a good look at your book’s condition, and assess whether it’s Like New, Very Good, Good, or Acceptable. Most of my books get listed as Very Good. Never go for Acceptable unless the book is falling apart and/or has a lot of notes inside.
  8. Write a brief description of your book’s condition. The goal is to be honest, but positive. Details are good. Be professional, but try to sound like a real person, not like a big company that sells used textbooks by the hundreds. I often describe my books with something like, “Great condition! Clean pages, tight binding. No notes or highlighting. Some shelf wear and sticker on back.” This sounds like I’ve examined it carefully, I’m confident in what I’m selling, and I’m not afraid to let you know of any minor defects that you probably don’t care about anyway. This builds trust with the buyer.
  9. Look at the other used prices for the item before you list. I always list my book for about 50 cents lower than the lowest price, unless it’s in exceptionally good condition and I think I can be competitive at a higher price.
  10. Once you make your sale, ship it promptly with the packing slip included, and then leave feedback on your buyer to encourage them to leave feedback for you! The better your ratings are, the more trust you’ll have earned for your next selling season.

What tricks have you learned to save money on books?