Can't Bring Myself to Mark in a Textbook

So I’ve been enjoying sharing the very small things that only other OPM’ers would possibly find funny about my return to serious college life.

And this one is just as quirky for sure. . . but it’s also starting to worry me.

I’m in OChem. It’s not terrible. In a lot of ways it’s easier than GenChem, but a lot of material to review, do the problems, review again and do more problems. (at least for me).

The problem you ask? I can’t bring myself to mark, highlight or circle answers in my $200 textbook. And it’s slowing me down a bunch. When considering which has a higher BP - CH3CH2COOH or CH3COOCH3 - I’m taking the time to write out the answer on a piece of paper then check the answer book. If I would just circle answers in my book I could probably double my pace.

I can do the rational math - another $10,000 of undergrad with a great GPA will outweigh $10,200 and a B in Ochem. But the very old, “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” non-trad. in me says, ‘you can get better money for that book with it clean - be frugal’.

Somebody jump in and give me the internet version of a face slap!


No way, dude! I’m all about being cheap as heck - I’m paying for this stuff (and reselling it on Amazon when I’m done)!

(I’m in Org. Chem, too. 13 years since my last general chem. I’m getting it…slowly…but my instructor is Mr. Tangent so I’ve got to do a LOT of footwork on my own.)

Good luck and keep on putting one foot in front of the other!

For what it’s worth . . . I like to read the Organic Chem for Dummies and the Organic Chem as a Second Language, then my text. The condensed version first seems to help.

Then I do the flash card note taking, then I go back through the text chapter doing the problems.

There are right at 500 people in the two sections, so lectures before tests get up to 200 some people in the room. He’s a great lecturer, but I still have to go do my own footwork as well.

Kind of miffs me that I do more and pay triple at the University, but got a lot more out of the CC.

When I think of which is more important, keeping a pricey textbook pristine by putting on a bookcover an not marking in it, or (ab)using my textbook to the max and getting that grade – I always choose the latter.

True, textbooks are not cheap, so one way to avoid the need to mark in them is to copy or to scan the pages into a computer, then you can print out the pages whenever you want; of course, there are copyright issues involved herein. I actually prefer to scan and shrink pages, so I can get say2 or 4 pages onto one sheet instead of just one page. Another trick is to just write down what is important, and then scan and cut out the appropriate diagrams that accompany the text; so you are condensing the information but keeping the diagrams, charts, tables, etc.

Nice post! lol, love the wittiness that lies within ^^

Well I do love to save, especially when it comes to school investments. However, I do see these textbooks as school investments so I mark them up to high hell! I can see that if one is not accustomed to studying efficiently and fast while retaining the information at the same time he or she can potentially fall behind quickly, especially in some of the upper level classes.

I am a prime example of a slow learner thus I have to draw pictures, diagrams, and re-write illustrations in my own words so that they stick. So guess where all that doodling is done…yep! the actual text. In the margins, front cover, back cover, every where and anywhere. I found that before a person can get used to writing in their textbook a less expensive guide will work just fine, like a Dummies guide or Spark Notes version. Write in something simple and cheap then take the plunge and scribble in your actual textbook.

Of course if you are mandated to sell back your textbook so that you can pay for electricity or carry out Chinese food then all of the above advice is a moot point ^



You are thinking of spending 10-15 years of your life in training to be a physician (premed + med + residency + fellowship) and half million dollars ($200,000 in direct debt and $200,000-$400,000 lost revenue and benefits from no employment and under employment), and you are worried about a $200 textbook? A book,I might add, that you need to know inside and out in order to get a grade that might, I said might, help you get into medical school and achieve your lifelong dream of being a physician. Did you ever think that costs are TIME, RESOURCES and MONEY. Or do you think that short term, minor cash enhancements some how out way the long term marathon that this journey is?


This is a serious manifestation of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) that is can be SOOOOOOOOO self defeating

You need to get over this inhibition RIGHT NOW! Go out TODAY and get yellow, green, pink, blue, and purple (that’s right I said purple) highlighters and a black, blue, and red pen. Go and DRAW! (yes I said DRAW!) all over the inside cover and other pages like a kids coloring book. Why? it will break of this time-consuming, med school killing, OCD inhibition. Then start marking those reactions, mechanisms, names, and all those other items.

Oh, I want you to SCAN! (That’s right I said SCAN!) a page of your color artwork from the book so that it looks like a modern art masterpiece and I will post it online here. I am not kidding. I want that work so colorful that I cant tell the difference between that an field of wildflowers.

Now get to it!

Textbooks are tools, not investments. The bookstore will only give you $50 for it at the end of the semester, or give you nothing and say “we switched to the new edition” - so you are not saving yourself any money with all this effort.

I’m OCD and I write all over everything. Highlighters, pencil, random sharpie (oh, so many random colors) and pens in every possible color. Then my husband comes along when I’m away from my desk and CHANGES THE CAREFULLY STRUCTURED ORDER OF MY PENS (which all correspond to certain kinds of notes at the time) just to mess with me. You can get past this, too.

Buy used to begin with, then someone else has already taken the biggest hit in depreciation.

Say it with me, HALF.COM!

This is why I always buy 1 edition older used from amazon. Same book 1/10 of the price.

  • In reply to:
This is why I always buy 1 edition older used from amazon. Same book 1/10 of the price.

Indeed. It's amazing how publishers rationalize a ridiculous markup for minimal revisions. It's all about the $$$$$!!
  • Crepitus Said:

Dr. Gonnif, I humble myself to your suggestion (yeah like that was a suggestion, more like )! I have a half day of other course work to accomplish today, but I hereby promise, for all intents and purposes, to destroy, with massive coloring, the resale value of my virginish Organic Chemistry textbook TODAY!

And will post the said proof as requested.

1) I am NOT a doctor; I just help them get educated

2) As the financier, executive director, and chief bottle washer of OPM, a group that has run on the edge of bankruptcy for years, I understand about turning around organizations.

3) As someone who has survived 5 mergers in 15 years in a large financial services corporation and who had to fight in court for two years to get my stock option reinstated only to watch them become absolutely worthless as the banking system nearly failed (along with my 401k, mutual funds and everything else I owned but I still had to pay my attorney) I know what it is like to stare into the abyss of financial ruin

4) Sometimes the best advice is a good swift kick in the pants and I see you got off your "tuchus" and are well on your well to letting go and getting down and colorful with your organic book.

5) I thought my brand new organic book was a virgin but considering the number of times it screwed me during the course, I am not so sure now

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