Using Your Money (and Getting a Workout in the Process)

It shouldn’t be news to you that paying for university or college is an expensive endeavour. Putting aside the high tuition rates, there’s still the expense of books and the cost of living. With all of the money you’re putting into higher education each year, you would pretty much be insane not to take advantage of all the services and resources covered by your tuition because—let’s face it—much like gas, the price probably won’t be going down any time soon.

If you may recall, I have a tendency to push the gym on you wonderful readers every few blogs or so. In the middle of my second term, I have now come to the realization that taking advantage of this particular perk might not be as easy to accomplish during the stressful period that I like to call crunch time. Which is why we’re going to focus on a service that will actually help you in your studies—the library.

Having spent a great deal of time there over my reading week, I can say the library is the most important and best service that most universities provide. And, as long as you’re vigilant about returning anything you borrow, any additional costs outside of your tuition should be nonexistent here. Well, except for maybe printing or photocopying.

Contrary to popular belief, a university library is not just a quiet place where one can take naps between class. If you haven’t used yours much to date, you might not be aware of the full wealth of information at your disposal. Unlike most public libraries, the materials found there will, for the most part, be academic. While they won’t have a book on everything, they may be very close.

The other great thing about university libraries is the staff. They aren’t just there to keep the books in order. To use Carleton as an example, research librarians on nearly every subject are available to help you if ever you a hit a wall in your research. I don’t know how many times my TAs and professors have told me to take full advantage of their office hours since they get paid either way. It’s the same way with the library.

The only downfall of the library is that it may not have everything you need. Luckily, they’ve already taken that in to account: most libraries have book sharing networks that will allow you to borrow from other university libraries. Just don’t wait until the last minute, because it might take a bit for the material to travel. On top of that, many libraries subscribe to countless databases rich with peer-edited materials that are yours for the taking. Bonus: no late fees. Depending on your major, there could also be a resource centre on campus that has its own library of materials.

I’ve only just discovered some of the wonders that are the library services my tuition fees provide me. For example, I’ve been working from a book at Carleton’s library, but I’m only able to borrow it for 2 hours at a time. (This is the case with a lot of the books on my subject.) Luckily, I’m just a short bus ride away from the University of Ottawa, where I can take out the exact same books, and borrow them for a decent amount of time too. The UOttawa Pride Centre also had a book that’s perfect for my paper.

While it’s not a flawless system (especially since I get lost on the UOttawa campus very easily it seems), I’m able to take full advantage of these resources that will hopefully help me write (if not ace) at least one of the papers I’m working on.

Anyway, as you can see I have a bit of reading to do. I’m going to be “so jacked” after carrying all of these heavy books around for the next two weeks. Anyway, as always, good luck to those of you writing papers, midterms and the like!

Through

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