That is the question. If you all aren’t brainfried and actually remember back to September (you’d be alone in this, I barely remember what I ate last night for dinner), you’d recall that I wrote a post about the absurd prices of textbooks. What I didn’t think about when I bought the textbooks is how I would be using them. No, not that I didn’t realize I would be studying from them, but more like I didn’t realize how useful highlighting things in a textbook is.
The problem with highlighting parts in a textbook, is that it severely diminishes the value of the book when you’re trying to sell it again. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m convinced the bookstore wouldn’t buy back a textbook full of my highlighting, margin notes, and tear stains. And so, I’ve refrained from marking up my Fall term textbooks. The full year ones are an exception, mostly because I bought those used. But that leads to my questioning if my marks are suffering because of my refusal to highlight important things. I didn’t before my professor handed out a critical reading tip sheet, where one of the instructions was to highlight anything I felt was important. She also urged us to do so, citing increased marks and better focus as reasons.
However, I’m still hesitant. Is it the past 13 years of being told “NOT TO MARK UP THE TEXTBOOK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES”? Or is it the fixation I seem to have with making back at least some of my money? Either way, I’m forced to face the distinct possibility that my marks may be suffering because of it. Or at least, if not my marks, my critical reading skills.
So what conclusion have I come to? Well, for one, make notes however you want to, even if that’s highlighting every word in the book (p.s. that’s not very good idea). What I’m starting to realize is that while money is very important and while we as university students want to squeeze every available penny out of something, your GPA is tenfold more important. And so, disregard the sunk cost* that is the textbook — sorry, practicing my econ vocab, we have a test coming up — and focus only on what you need to do for the future. So, to highlight or not to highlight? Well, when debating, just consider what Aristotle Onassis said “After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.”
*A sunk cost is one that you’ve already paid and you’re not getting back no matter what decision you make. Also known as every textbook ever.
P.S. Countdown to Christmas as of November 14th: 40 days