Every college student goes through a debate every time they sit down to crack open chapters to read... "Will I really need to know this," or even better, "What is happening on Facebook?" I feel like sitting down, actually reading for classes and then enjoying it is a rare occasion that it is hard to even begin the readings at all. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with the idea that you get out of college what you put into it, but seriously? I get teachers want us to utilize books and other resources, but when is the use of the book sufficient enough to actually buy it? We have lecture, notes in class, discussions and so on. I just wish that the substantial amount of money I use to buy these books that I "need" (excluding my core classes books) for classes were worth it.
If the material is sooo important for students to know and understand concepts maybe it would be a good idea to take out the extra paper or project thrown in and to add it into all the "extra" time we have during semesters. Don't get me wrong, I do see why some books are worth the purchase, as teachers utilize them in class, reference them, make the lecture follow with what the student just read the night before, etc.; but for those teachers that don't, maybe rethink getting a book; especially if it is a general education class.
Now that my rant is over here is some advice: 1. talk to upperclassmen who have taken the class already, see if the "required materials" are actually necessary, 2. if you MUST have the book for class, check out the bookstores new renting option, it actually has saved me money this year, 3. if renting is not an option then going online to Half.com, Amazon.com or AbeBooks.com is the next best choice and 4. when the book is a must and the teacher gives reading homework my suggestion is to sit down and read it. More than likely the reading will be a struggle and a tad drawn out, but at least skim through the material. You bought/ rented the book and the professor wants you to understand the material being covered, so why not get use of the money you are spending on the books and more specifically your education and just read. I'm going to pull a Nike and say, Just Do It. If it's not worth it or you didn't get anything out of the reading assignment, start a blog and vent it out.
-Peace, Love and Happy Reading