It’s my last week at home, and I’m busy trying to get all of my stuff packed up. Of course, I’m running across the same problem I have every year. And that is choosing which books to take and which to leave.
My first year in college I packed half of my collection up to take. When my father caught sight of it he ordered me to cut it down. I cut it in half again. My second year I tried to select a few favorites but still ended up with more than I expected. But this coming year I’m going to be studying abroad second semester, so I really need to cut down on my books. So I’ve decided to create a guide of ways to lower down the number of books you take with you. Here are some initial questions to ask.
1. Will I read this?
Carefully consider what you will or will not use. You’ll likely be busy and won’t have a lot of free time. So if you’re bringing books make sure it’s something you like enough to read again or really want to read.
2. Can I find this on the internet/another source?
Somethings are easy to find online. For example, Shakespeare’s plays, poetry collections, or baby name meanings. So, why not leave your dictionary at home and figure that you can always look up a word meaning if you need it.
3. Is there another option for reading?
Check if there’s a local library you can use. At my college I can get a library card for the school year. My school library also has lending from other schools that allows me to get ahold of books if I really want them. And most of the time I’d rather read a new book than an old one, so it’s better to get one from the library.
4. Can I wait to read this?
Remember you might have more free time over Christmas or Summer break, so sometimes it’s just better to leave a book waiting for you til you get home. That way you save yourself the trouble of carting it back home over the breaks.
5. Is this too similar to something else I’m taking?
Trying to take a variety helps cut it down a bit. So ensure you’re not taking books that are very similar. As a Christian I like having devotionals to read, but it’s silly to take four or five different ones when they’re a similar type of book. So narrow it down. Take one book by your favorite author and consider saving the other space for something different.
6. Is this hard to pack or worth the space?
Avoid the big bulky books. I have a complete collection of Shakespeare and a Lord of the Rings collection. Neither are coming with me because the books are gigantic! Pick small books, paperbacks if possible. These are easy to take with you. In fact, if you want to pick up a few new books for college you can always check your local library for book sales and grab a few $0.25 books that you can later just donate when you’re done with. This saves you space on the return home if you have less books than you started with.
7. Will I be upset if this gets lost/dirty/damaged?
I’m a book collector, so I like picking up old fashioned copies of things. Now, in college you’re often sharing space and sometimes things get lost or dirty. Plus, the traveling process is a risk too. So maybe leave a special edition or signed copy home.
8. Why am I really taking this?
This is the essential question to ask. You can kid yourself all you want, but if you can’t come up with a good answer to this question then you should kick that book back in storage. Pick books you really want, books you know you’ll read, and books that clearly have some irreplaceable value to them.
So be careful in your consideration for packing. It’s easy to end up with way more books than you’ll actually use. And in the end, remember that college is a time to study and be social and branch out. So keep in mind you’ll want to keep your nose out of a book at times and get out into the world…or keep it in a book to actually study. So bring a few of your favorites, leave the rest at home, and have a great year!