It’s the end of the semester, and you know what that means: It’s time to get screwed over by the VCU Bookstore! So I spent $400 on textbooks back in January. Today I went down to VCU and got a whopping $13.50 back in resale value. Half of my books wouldn’t be taken back because they’re proprietary, custom VCU books that have no value once used because they change every year. I have a big problem with that. That’s just ridiculous. I spent more money than that on cheese pies yesterday at the Lebanese Food Festival. I probably spent more than that getting my Xterra down there to the VCU Bookstore and back. Textbooks are a royal ripoff. Students such as myself are getting nothing short of scammed. It’s infuriating.
So I was at the Miller’s gas station on Nuckols Road today pumping gas. It was cold as all, and me being the procrastinator that I am, had no coat to wear whatsoever because I was washing every single one at once. So not only am I standing out in the freezing cold, but then the gas pump decides it would like to strike up a chat. The first thing that loud, annoying box thing blares through the speaker tries to lure me in for a snack. “In a rush? Come on in and pick up a ready-made sandwich for the road!” No thanks, I just ate. The thing just keeps on belting out reasons that I should venture even farther from my warm car and enjoy a less-than-decent snack or beverage. It’s bad enough that the on-screen prompts ask if you want a receipt, a car wash, or want to pay in or outside (okay seriously, if I’ve already swiped my card, isn’t there, oh I don’t know, pretty much a more than 100% chance I’m paying outside?). But this thing just kept on telling me what I needed to buy. The short version: “You want a sandwich?” NO! “Some chips?” NO! “A slushy?” NO! It’d be frozen solid by the time I got it back to the car anyway. “Coffee?” I don’t like coffee. Plus, I just gave away half my life savings to the big oil companies anyway by filling my gas-sucking Xterra (I really need to sell it) all the way to the top; you think I have any more money left over to donate to your dinky mini-mart snack department anyway?
So after all of that, my receipt prints as I requested in the “Do you want a [fill in the blank with a non-needed gas station service here]” questionnaire that is thrown at you before you’re even allowed to touch the gas nozzle. The talking box on top of the gas pump then gleefully informs me of the following information:
“Welcome to Miller’s Neighborhood Market! Congratulations, you’re at the $300 Miller’s Easy Rewards gas level for February! Come on in and get a free hot dog courtesy of your friends at Miller’s!”
Well dang, all I have to say is, for $300, that thing better have flakes of gold embedded in the meat or something nifty like that. The so-called “free” hot dog was funded by my $300 in gas purchases, you ignorant talking box. Sounds like Regal Cinema’s Crown Club Card. You go see like 50 movies and you get a free small popcorn without butter. Nice! Customer loyalty programs rock.
So my first semester as a college student was officially over last night after I took my history final. I think I did pretty well on my exams, but I know I still could have done better in terms of grades. Not horrible, but I had a lot on my plate between adjusting to college, working at church, and having a part-time job. I’m going to seriously consider the effect working has on school before I decide where I’m going to work next semester. I need to pick a place with flexible hours and good pay (so I can work fewer hours but make the same amount of money as I would in an average-paying job- does that sentence even make sense?).
Anyway, I’ve come to realize several things this semester. Not having much time to do anything besides what I mentioned above, I realized just how much I value free time. I got so burnt out that once I took a week off, such as I did from the church, I not only saw all of the stuff I had neglected to do for months and decided to get it done, but I also decided to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and just chill out. Moreover, what I really realized was that I just want to live a little and be a college student. I have the rest of my life to slave away at work (well hopefully I’ll be doing something I like), so I want to live it up while I can. I’m going to seriously consider changing a lot of things next semester.
First off, not seeing many of my friends nearly as often as I did before has caused that area of my life to suffer, and I’m not willing to let that happen. Friendships are an integral part of life and with schedule conflicts caused by all that I did last semester, I lost touch with some people that I’ve been friends with for years.Secondly, I don’t even do anything with several hobbies I had before. I have run a local history website (that I haven’t updated in a year) since 2001. This is the first time I’ve let that slip in seven years. I also have a history exhibition out at Field Day of the Past that I’ve done since 2002. This was the first year I didn’t set up my display because it’s a huge undertaking (the displays take up the whole tailgate area of my Xterra from floor to ceiling) and I just didn’t have the energy after the week I had.
There are plenty more things I haven’t had the time or extra energy to do, like writing, doing some graphic design and video projects I’ve wanted to, and on top of everything else I’m not going to let my school work suffer anymore either. To quote the lyrics of a song by Bruce Hornsby, next semester “there’s gonna be some changes made.” I’ve got to balance things out more. I’m amazed I’ve even kept my blog updated on an (almost) daily basis.