This is What I Do When I Get Bored in Irving

What happens when Phoebe spends a plethora of time in a dreary study room before midterms, with only markers and a whiteboard for company?

She draws (and talks in third person).


I think I should make it my personal mission to add a little pizzazz to the whiteboards on campus, many of whom are simply begging for the kind of nurture and attention only a colourful marker can give them.

Selling: One (1) Kidney for Textbook Money

Currently: blogging in D. Lam (to avoid reading the OB chapters) and craving a honey cruller donut from Tim Hortons.

I stopped by the bookstore in the summer armed with a booklist and a debit card, ready to breeze through the rumored “painful process”. Little did I know that I would soon be considering advertising kidney sales on my blog. I’m a pretty thrifty person so the price tags there were devastating to my soul. Instead of taking the easy way out and reserving my books, I decided to experiment a little and see how much I can save by buying my UBC textbooks elsewere (online mainly), despite not having ANY experience in textbook hunting (all you seasoned pros out there, feel free to send over more tips!)

Class Book UBC $ I paid $ Bought from
ECON 101 Princi. of Microecon 96.00 35.00 Facebook Marketplace
ECON 101 Lyryx card Incl. Bookstore, tbd ($35)
COMM 292 Org. Behavior 116.00 50.00
CPSC 111 Big Java 90.00 30.00 Saveonbook, prev ed.
HIST 237 Thomas Jefferson 20.00 0.00 Borrowing from library
HIST 237 Portia 23.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 Sovereignty etc. 15.00 5.00 Facebook Marketplace
HIST 237 Frederick Douglass 7.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 March to the Sea 33.00 12.00
TOTALS (w/ tax) 400.00 132.00

That’s a saving of over $250 (Mmm…shoes!) In addition to the above list, I did end up buying two costly textbooks from the Bookstore, so my total spendings were just under $400 (as compared to the $640 I would’ve spent).

List of resources I used and/or recommend

  1. Facebook Marketplace – great for local searches as it first displays results from your networks. Private message ensures privacy. Lots of haggling room available. Be sure to ask for notes for free.
  2. – UBC student’s “secret” tool. Pretty convenient since most people have their cellphone numbers on there. Another local resource and notes are usually thrown in. Lots of texts available!
  3. Craigslist – The somewhat “sketchy” corner of the internet… the search is a bit more difficult as a lot of SFU and BCIT books are mixed in.
  4. Bookfinder – This gives you a rough idea of how much the books are being sold online. Just enter the ISBN numbers and it’ll search the corners of the internet for you
  5. Amazon – A bit pricy than the local alternatives ($2 book, $15 shipping, grr!), but they usually have the right editions here. Used books option also available.
  6. Bookmeat UBC – Very minimalistic and organized website, no search option but browsing through courses is easy. Not TOO comprehensive. People who want to sell it go there and list their asking price, save % (GREAT feature), book condition, and contact info.
  7. UBC AMS Sub – “In the basement there is a massive wall filled with for sale textbooks!” (Thanks Andre!)
  8. – “Bigwords compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet” (Thanks Brian!)
  9. Friends/Family/Coworkers – seriously, ask EVERYONE if they have taken/know someone who have taken the courses you have. Turns out one of my coworkers had a few Econ books to give away from his BCIT days!

Hope this helps you on your book hunt, for next year least!

What Not To Do Before UBC Starts

Let me begin by explaining that when it comes to life in general, I am a very organized person. When summer struck however, it brought along spontaneity, oversea trips, and organizational nightmares. Hence, my UBC experience begins with a rather large list of what NOT to do’s.

Mix up timezones and register half a week late – okay, I blame the distracting shopping experience known as Full-Day-Sprees-in-Cheap-Meccas/Markets-in-Asia. Shame on me. Not surprisingly, POLISCI 100 filled up in the blink of an eye, but at least I got FREN 122 – French Literature – that’s always a popular choice, right? RIGHT?!

Have freakouts on MSN after finding out everyone else got their UBC ID cards already – Hopefully AMS gives me a nice agenda before my life descends into a chaotic abyss of missed deadlines and DOOM. For those who haven’t gotten their UBC ID Card yet, GO TO THE BOOKSTORE NOW. It takes literally two minutes as I found out this morning (I didn’t want to appear completely scatter-brained on my blog you see). All you need is a Photo ID, your student number, and some expensive Belgian chocolates to bribe the guy with the camera so he photoshops all your facial blemishes away, not that you had any to start off with.

Become an on-the-run fugitive from the UBC Library – It was a stormy winter evening in 2007, two days before my EE was due (EE = acronym for a monstrous IB thesis paper known as the Extended Essay, but I think it actually stands for EEEEEEK, the dying squeak of an overworked and over-caffeinated student). In the last-minute due-date frenzy, I forgot to renew the 89345793847 books I took out from Koerner with a Community Card and got slapped with an overdue fine that could feed a small South American country for a week (like Paraguay, for example, which I’ve always been fond of). The moral of the story? Don’t do IB. PAY YOUR FINES!

Plan a Let’s-Watch-Half-Blood-Prince! Get Together on the UBC Facebook Group – Why not? Because Warner Bros WILL break our hearts, WILL postpone the coveted 6th Harry Potter movie to July 17th, 2009, and WILL choose money over the happiness of millions of Muggles around the world. Tear tear. Hopefully the Quidditch Tournament at AMS Firstweek will brighten things up.

Don’t you feel better about yourself now that unfortunate things have happened to someone else? Until next time dear readers, cheers.