An Ode to the College Textbook: Why it is So Important

An ode to the college textbook:

Oh, wondrous textbook, “how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning phrases her devotion in such elegant ways, but my college student mind shall have to suffice in expressing my passion.

I’m not worthy of your insurmountable knowledge, dear textbook. Dare I say that I neglected you in high school? I merely brushed off teachers’ comments that the textbook is an important tool in the learning process. Naively, I ignored that insistence, and relied on their teaching as a crutch. How wrong was I! Now I know the error of my adolescent ways.

Your text is vital to my everyday life. Without the words on your bountiful pages, I would not survive on this campus. Professors, in their cunning ways, leave out vital information in their lectures. You, my beloved textbook, save me in my time of need. On treacherous exam days, the information I gathered in our late nights reading returns to my mind.

Prodigal book, you are an important resource, not a book meant to be shoved under my bed to be forgotten. I now know you are the best college friend I could ask for. My teachers used to be my crutch. I didn’t read on my own. No, I solely relied on their teachings. Oh, woe is me! Reading, you come first. I need you, and my professors clarify what you show me. I swear that I’m a responsible student now.

The benefits you provide amount to so much! My mind grows and my ideas expand as I scan your pages. But despair flushes over me as I cash out my hard earned savings in order to bring you into my home. Pain strikes me as my bank account dwindles.

But you are worth it.

The picturesque covers containing your pages are beautiful, the words inside are so much more. I want them to practically jump off the page! Colorful highlighters will do you justice. Let me not be afraid to mark up your pages in order to help me study your content later. Your pages are meant to be marked up. But never would I rip your pages out, especially if I rented you.

At the end of the year, when we must part ways, I know not to shed a tear. In the whimsical words of Dr. Seuss, “Don’t be sad that it ended, be happy that it happened.” For now your vast pages have filled my mind, but soon they will refill my bank account. Selling books back doesn’t amount to riches, but it amounts to a meal out. The pictures bounded by your covers are worth a thousand words, but you, textbook, are now worth cold, hard cash.

What I’m trying to say, textbook, is that I need you. Let me not neglect you in my college years, but keep you as a lifeline. Though my heart aches when I pay for you, I know it will be worth it in the end. I shall not be lazy in my college days, but keep you near and close to my heart. You won’t wait in my dorm under my bed, but will be out on my desk and in my backpack for class.

In my studies, I have found that Shakespeare writes so beautifully. His words inspire the writers still to come, some who may produce textbooks themselves. If there’s one thing I learned from Shakespeare, it’s that I shouldn’t let my studying end in a tragedy as sorrowful as Julius Caesar or Romeo and Juliet. Instead I must embrace you, oh dear textbook, and study to my heart’s content.

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Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs

Rebecca Jacobs is a sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a News-Editorial Journalism degree. An avid bookworm, Rebecca reads all texts Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut when she’s not busy writing for The Black Sheep on campus. Back home, she spends a vast amount of time enjoying nature with loved ones.