Surviving School: Week 3, 4 and 5 -- Way Too Much to Do!


Editor's note: Given his heavy load, this may be the conclusion to Christopher Sun's back-to-school blog, so be sure to read all of his earlier posts. Aside from being fun to read, they provide practical tips to help you cut the costs of school! Thanks, Chris - and good luck in your finals!


It's barely been a month and I want to have a large bonfire for all my school junk. Junk is what it feels like now that I’m falling behind.

Juggling five courses at two different schools, working/volunteering full time, and taking care of personal matters is tough enough. Having a close friend hospitalized in intensive care for two weeks sure didn't help, since I was visiting her at 10 p.m. almost every night.

Then there is my editor here at Debt 101 who, knowing how crazy my life has been, has waited patiently until today, when I handed in my weekly blog three weeks late.

One of my schools just finished accepting applications for scholarships and bursaries. With everything else going on, I couldn’t find the time to hit all their application requirements: provide reference letters if you volunteer, proof if you went to a certain school or someone in your family is in a certain union, and so on. You don’t win points by submitting an incomplete application on deadline day.

On the other hand, that just shows why you should apply for bursaries and scholarships even if you don’t think you’ve got much chance. Maybe the other students in your school won’t have time to jump through all those hoops.

An update to my cheap textbooks blog...

I ordered a textbook from an online seller through the Barnes and Noble website (Barnes and Noble is a major bookstore in the United States). It cost me just under $30 for the book, including shipping from Cambridge, England. What a Canadian sociology book was doing in England in the first place is puzzling. Anyway, to avoid the extra scrutiny of Canada Customs (since that could slow the delivery of a package for weeks) and to avoid the extremely high cost of delivery to Canada, I had my textbook sent to a mail-receiving company across the border. The fee for this was $2.50 USD.

The result? My textbook took only one week to arrive from England. I got a phone call and email from the mail-receiving company, announcing that my book had arrived. I made a quick morning trip across the border, picked up the package, did a little grocery shopping, drove around town, crossed the border again and received no hassle from the Canadian border guard. I told him that I just went to pick up a textbook that cost under $30 and he let me through. I ended up saving $100 plus shipping for doing this.

One thing to keep in mind if you plan to order books or anything else this way, remember that border crossing became tougher this summer. You’ll need a passport or enhanced driver licence to get into the United States. A friend who came with me didn't have either. She won't be allowed into the US again if she comes back with just her picture ID and birth certificate.

Argh! I'm already late for my criminology group meeting…

© Christopher Sun 2009-2012