In a jungle of books

I had expected along with my acceptance letter an additional note, like in the Harry Potter books where it clearly states which book students had to purchase ahead of their year at Hogwarts. Like the disappointment of not receiving a Hogwarts letter, a list like that did not appear in my letterbox. Like any other future student, I had to log onto the Sussex page and scroll and roam around the wood of Study Direct like a lost sheep in order to find my reading lists. When I eventually found the reading list, my jaw dropped onto the floor. It was a list that never seemed to end. How I am supposed to afford all of this (!?) I thought to myself. A friend of mine from back home had told me the secret of student life in England and every student’s best friend (maybe except for a nap during the day) is Amazon. The endless opportunities to find cheap deals, and where textbooks range from freshly printed to those that have passed from student to student and are barely hanging on by a thread. Despite this, I realized that I was not going to order 10+ books. I decided to wait and ask my professor once I arrived at Sussex. Luckily for me, my professor did the work for us and spent the first introductory lecture guiding us through the reading. The professors in most of my lectures publish PDF documents for each week along with the reading, which is both handy and good for the environment (double luck!).

When finally deciding to purchase a textbook (see picture)sage1, it was due to the recommendation of my professor who said: “You’ll need this throughout the three years”. I thought to do my future self a favor and buy it at the beginning of the term instead of the time when your bank account is drained.

Secondly, in one of my politics courses, we could buy all of the 12 weeks of reading (printed and in weekly order) for a small amount. Included are all of the seminar and lecture topics and questions regarding those topics. I’ve only heard positive comments regarding this system from my course mates, who all agree on disliking reading from a computer. Instead, having the actual reading in front of you makes such a different when you’re either preparing for the essays or for the lectures. As you probably can see by the pictures below, this set of politics reading used to have a fancy front page but sadly lost it due to all the travels between lectures, seminars and the library.


(A complete set of in total of 12 weeks readings = happy and relieved student)


This is the introduction to each week:

  1. Which week (Always good to know)
  2. What this week’s topic is
  3. Full and complete reference to each reading (This is like the holy grail when you are referencing an essay)
  4. The questions for discussion in the seminar

I would like to take this last paragraph to give my advice to future and current students at Sussex.  Sort the reading out when you arrive at university and don’t panic because other people have already bought their books. Listen to your professor’s recommendations because this will save you a lot of money. Most of the readings they post are specific chapters from a book – use the physical library or the online library to try and find the reading first before you decide to buy anything.

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