Archive for August, 2008

Pit Stop

Click for a live image of The Pit.

Boy 1: So when did you move in?
Girl: Last week, Joe and Ed lived there all summer but their old roommate moved out in June, so he just needed someone to take his place and split the rent, you know. It’s a pretty nice little house, except for the roaches… lot of roaches.
Boy 1: It’s closed Tony. (As a second Boy, presumably named Tony, enters the scene walking up to open the plate glass door at the bookstore entrance.)
Boy 2 (Tony): No, say it aint so!
Boy 1: It may still be open; they turned the lights off though.
Girl: Do you know Tony?
Boy 1: Yeah I think we met like last year, just real briefly.
Boy 2: Yeah like sometime last spring, it was real brief though.
Girl to Tony: So what have you been up to?
Boy 2: Not much, I’ve got to help guide that freshman camp tomorrow. Man I’m not gonna have time to come back then.
Girl: Oh well, it was good to see you.
Boy 1: Yeah good to meet you again man.
Girl: So I’m getting my tooth in Thursday.
Boy 1: You’re tooth in?
Girl: I’ve had a baby tooth since I was 14, well since I was baby, but when I was fourteen they took it out and file it down, and put it back in, I could only eat bread for a week. I get my real tooth, the tooth for the rest of my life on Thursday.
Boy 1: Cool.

By Fisher Coan

Ram’s Rewards

With the first day of fall classes looming on the horizon it seems the list of things to do grows larger as the gap towards the opening bell narrows. Preparing to move in to a new dorm or apartment, finalizing roommates and living arrangements, furnishing your new place, buying supplies, acquiring the materials you need for the new school year.

As the list grows questions begin to mount. What do I need for this year? Is my computer up-to-speed? Do I need an upgrade? Do I have the right clothes? What’s in style this season? Am I enrolled in the right classes? Should I have signed up for that honors class in Apartheid and Modern South African Politics & Culture? Would that look better on my internship application? Do I really want to live with these people?

As a freshman however this process can be even more difficult, simply because you lack the luxury of experience. For you the chief problem is not so much the size of the list, but where to begin the list.

If you are a freshman, we’ll go ahead and assume that you have living arrangements in one of our fine institution’s plush student housing facilities, and have already found or been assigned a roommate who no doubt will complement your lifestyle and new found personal freedom in every way.

By this point you have also gone through CTOPS and have been set up with the perfect class schedule and made equally familiar with the campus layout and location of your soon-to-be first semester of classes. You are no doubt set for a smooth transition into the greater transition that will mark the next four, five, six, or possibly seven years of your life, and yes I’m just talking undergrad.

How can I help to make this move as smooth for you as possible? What other bases have not been covered? What could the impeccably efficient and comprehensive admissions and orientation process not have prepared you for by now? Wait, I know! One problem remains, you have your classes, you know your room numbers, but you still need books. Alas, an area where I can be of service.

The powers that be would have you buy your books from the campus bookstore. And why not? They’re overpriced, and often under stocked, not to mention that the variety of cheaper used books is also rather thin, keeping you on a short rope constantly checking back to see if the more expensive new books have been ordered, and when they are due to arrive.

In retrospect, this is not a bad way to go about buying your books, it will prepare you for dealing with various other student services throughout your college career, like the registrar and cashier. However unlike dealing with registration when it comes to buying books you actually have several options.

One such option is the Internet. You can find anything on the Internet these days; you really don’t have to be a rocket scientist to track down a Spanish 101 workbook or a used copy of an anthology of Major American Authors. You can get some great deals on textbooks on Amazon and Craigslist, and a lot of textbooks have companion Web sites where you can order additional books as well. Just be aware that shipping costs will vary and if a book is needed immediately this may not be a feasible option.

I suggest checking out Ram Book and Supply on West Franklin, next to Vespa Ristorante, across the street from Panera. Ram’s is Chapel Hill’s independent student book store.

They maintain an extensive back stock of most books for most classes, have a friendly, helpful staff, and usually offer rebates on returned books. The store also does a very good job with keeping track with the changing curriculum at the university and stays up-to-date with new textbooks; although they maintain a back stock of older books if needed for whatever reason, unlike the campus store. These older books can often be helpful as companion texts, particularly for higher level courses.

Ram Book and Supply will not buy back all books, but usually only those that are being switched out by the curriculum or are badly damaged. In fact, I was able to exchange both my textbooks from this past summer session for a solid 45 dollars – about a third of what I paid for them – but you will soon find, you get out of this university what you put into it, anything else, that’s as good a return as you can expect.

By Fisher Coan