Greek Life

by Celena Chong
Northwestern University Brand Ambassador
 

  “You see sorority girls all over campus wearing Louboutins and Jimmy Choos. Like everywhere.”

    “At U of I, they sacrifice virgins,” one of my friends said. “In a barn.”

    Awesome, I thought.

    Obviously, I knew in my mind these things weren’t true. But Greek life to me was like how pre-pubescents are when they wait for the new cooking Barbie to come out. I had already decided in my mind with sort of a strange finality that I would, wherever I went to college, become part of this cult life. It sounded kinda fun.

My school has a time period that restricts freshmen from venturing to any house with Greek letters on them. Of course, it only added onto more speculation. If Greek life was a horse, now it became a unicorn. It was untouchable. A world of fairies, dragons and a lot of winged animals that shouldn’t be winged.

    The week before rush, since I went through it in the winter, was so intense that I could have probably cut the air into blocks. While some girls panicked and others chittered about the horror stories, most of the people I talked to were surprisingly serene and eerily calm about it all—the fact that the rest of their college lives were about to be shaped by this upcoming week (and really, it was true to a certain extent if you thought about it that way).

What if I really, really like two of them?! I thought. Like, I can’t be both Gryffindor and Slytherin. This was slightly devastating to me.

If anything, rush week was the most accurate aspect of Greek life by far to its description, given to us by veterans who had already survived that battle. Sure, some people cruised through it, but I witnessed some teary messes, some girls shouting their moms on their cellphones, and some utter anchor-in-the-stomach disappointments that I had myself. It wouldn’t be apt to say that rush is like the survival of the fittest however, because at least at my school, most people ended up where they liked. It was quite nice.

I trust the process and don’t—it’s safe to say that I still hold reservations about the fundamentals of Greek life today, however being in it. There are quarterly costs involved, and a potential for people to twist it into how it’s like in the movies, quite unfortunately. However, the benefits of it far outweigh the negatives. It’s an overall satisfying, insular community that allowed me to do many things: eat food that aren’t the greasy dollops of mush that I find in cafeterias, hang out with people who think I’m funny, steal clothes from many, many people’s closets and become involved with philanthropy. It feels like cheering for yet another team that you really care about, except you do it even when there isn’t a game on. You also aren’t going to be close to everyone, but that’s okay, because you still learn to have that acceptance which you carry on outside of Greek life.

    After one year of being in a sorority, I would say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far in college. That sounds pretty cliché, but it’s a pretty self-sustaining community that threw so many unexpected, yet cool opportunities in my way. So go ahead and memorize your sorority and fraternity’s creed like it’s a religious text, flash the hand symbols everywhere like they’re gang signs and even overuse this annoying phrase: “throw what you know”. It’s worth it.

image

To learn more about how to save BIG on textbooks, visit www.packbackbooks.com!

Check out Packback’s New Office!

We’re excited to announce that Packback is now “living” in a new office! We’ve moved out of Catapult, our past office space that we shared with various other start-ups.

Our new office is located at 330 N Wabash Ave in Chicago right off of the river. We have 360-degree views of the city, and even more amazing views inside! We’re lucky enough to be “staying” with ContextMedia, which is a company founded by one of our investors. They’re definitely making us feel right at home, and we’re adjusting to the new luxurious office and increased space that we have! We’ve still brought over our own traditions and hope to leave our mark on our new office.

Check out these pictures below to see for yourself how awesome the office is! We’re excited for our local Chicago Brand Ambassadors to come by and visit on August 8th for our first ever Brand Ambassador Workshop Day!

Packback Team Spotlight on Steven Maguire!

Steven Maguire is the infamous Head of Engineering on the Packback Team! This North Carolinian is living life in the city of Chicago, where he’s an avid customer of Portillo’s (their Maxwell Street Polish Sausage is his weakness). He’s known in the office for his witty jokes and great nicknames!

image

How did you get started with Packback?
Prior to joining the Packback team, I planned and executed a technology strategy to successfully convert TrainSignal to a SaaS/subscription model after 10 years in DVD product sales business. This involved design, coding, mentoring, and pitching every aspect and interaction of the platform from user engagement to service communication strategies and environment stability. TrainSignal was acquired by Pluralsight in 2013 for $23.6MM. Several months after the acquisition Kasey discovered my profile on Angel List and contacted me about the opportunity to join the Packback team. The rest is history in the making.
What is your favorite part about working with Packback?
Having been a college student, many years ago, I know how painful it can be when organizing and financing your college textbooks; buy? borrow? not buy? In those days, online solutions were few and far between. Packback is on a mission to leverage the power of the web and provide options to students that will remove the pain that I once felt and students feel today. I am proud to be on that mission.
If you could have dinner with one person in history, dead or alive, who would it be?
Michael Bolton
List 3 things on your Bucket List:
  1. Make a bucket list
  2. Complete tasks on bucket list
  3. Die

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

Brand Ambassador Spotlight Feature: Tom Kalaj!

Tom Kalaj was one of Packback’s earliest group of Brand Ambassadors, starting his team over at Syracuse University in New York! As a sophomore student there, he studies Marketing Management & Television/Film/Radio. When he’s not studying, he’s spreading the word of Packback on campus with his rockstar Syracuse team!

3 Things on Tom’s Bucket List

        1. Go skydiving - To conquer my fear of heights

        2. Attend a World Cup Final 

        3. Visit as many countries in the world as I can.

Where do you see Packback in the next 10 years?

In 10 years Packback will be drastically different than it is today. Companies and website layouts like Google and Amazon are extremely different than they were a decade ago. I can confidently predict that Packback will effectively change to mirror the fast-paced developments of the Internet and target demographics. Most, if not all, textbooks would be available on Packback and may include some exclusive textbook content/programs from some textbook companies. The exponential growth in employees and student ambassadors over the next 10 years will push Packback to become a peerless company in the industry. 

If you could have dinner with one person in history, dead or alive, who would it be?

If I could have dinner with anyone, one of my top choices would be Elon Musk. He is a role model that I hope to eventually meet and have many questions to ask regarding SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and hyperloop. I would like to hope that the dinner would end with a possible job opportunity too…

How did you get started with Packback?

After reflecting upon my first semester at Syracuse, I decided to get more involved. I began looking for internships and start up programs for college students. One thing lead to another and I stumbled upon Packback. A little research and a quick email and the rest is history. 

If you could travel to one place in the world, where would it be?

If I could travel to one place in the world, it would likely be Beijing, China. The disparate culture and opportunity to better understand international business operations are inviting reasons to visit. Though difficult, it’d be advantages to pick up some Chinese in order to be an effective employee at any multinational enterprise. Studying abroad there may be one of the best ways to fully appreciate what the culture has to offer.

Interested in joining the Packback Team? Visit www.packbackbooks.com/apply to bring Packback to your campus!

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

True Life: I Sold My Books Through Packback and Got a Check for $600

Ashley DiCosola is one of many Packback customers that is celebrating the end of their school year with a big check to start off their summer. But what better way to celebrate graduating the Nursing Program at Western Illinois University than cashing in on Nursing textbooks through Packback for $621.87?!

Name: Ashley DiCosola
Major: Nursing
School/graduating year: Western Illinois University Class of 2014
What you plan on using your $600+ check through Packback from: I plan on using the money for an interview outfit to hopefully land a great job and the rest will go to my amazing parents to use for a celebratory family dinner

Did you sell a book through Packback? Tell us what you plan on spending your money on! Email holla@packbackbooks.com

To learn more about how to save BIG on textbooks, visit www.packbackbooks.com!

When you truly believe in your company, public speaking becomes easy…

by Pablo Zayas
DePaul Packback Campus Marketing Manager


I remember my first time i went to speak about Packback in a class, as it was one of my tasks as a Brand Ambassador, I was very nervous and words could barely come out of my mouth. I had to make myself a little cheat sheet just so I wouldn’t forget anything. I remember having so many eyes on me and becoming more and more nervous. Upon starting to speak about the company and our goal, everything seemed to start flowing and it seemed easier as i spoke about fixing the textbook industry.   

Getting the attention of my classmates was tricky, but one turning point for me was using words and things that got student’s attention the most. Soon, the support from my classmates became overwhelming as soon as they found out that Packback was featured on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank. It was almost as if they woke up or told them “FREE PIZZA!”(which would become later part of our marketing strategy on campus!). It truly made speaking in class easier, as classmates were more receptive to the cause. Even after speaking in several classes, they approached me fascinated by the idea and the product itself. This is one of those products that once you hear about it, people love the idea. Now mine and my fellow Brand Ambassadors’ jobs are to spread this word around. As I keep talking to other students about Packback, I keep testing new phrasings and ways of conveying our message to gain support and potential customers.


When I meet with other interns and ambassadors, I learn so much and always love to learn about their approach and better mine. I think it all comes down to how much you understand and believe in the product you’re selling and supporting. Working for Packback, for a product that benefits me and other students, makes my internship and the people I work with and for much more exciting and very rewarding.


To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

Packback Team Spotlight on Karl Hughes!

Karl Hughes is Packback’s notorious Engineering Manager. Karl lives in Chicago and is an avid reminder to the rest of the team that healthy eating exists. Karl is a southern vegan that is constantly cracking jokes in the office, creating a fun and positive atmosphere to work in.

image

How did you get started with Packback?
I saw Kasey and Mike pitch at Technori in the spring of 2013. At the time I was working at another college-related startup, so I was immediately interested in what Packback was doing, and met with Kasey a few days later. He kept in touch and when they had secured enough funding in December of last year I jumped at the chance to join the team.

What have you learned from working with Packback?
Learn to tell a story. Kasey and Mike didn’t have a ton of validation in the form of revenue, big deals with publishers, or press when I joined, but they could show me and their investors that they had the commitment and vision to make Packback work.

 What’s your dream career?
Unlike most people, I’m just 25 and doing exactly what I dreamed I would be: working in a venture funded startup as an early employee. I’ll be in startups as either an early-stage employee, founder, or investor for the rest of my life.

 What’s your best childhood memory?
I spent thousands of hours building things out of Lego bricks as a kid. I literally spent every second of my free time before the age of 12 building stuff, and that definitely sparked my interest in engineering. I find the process of creating and building things insanely fun.

 Twitter | LinkedIn | Google+

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

Brand Ambassador Spotlight on Alex Brewer!

Alex Brewer (who just happens to be the birthday boy!) is a proud Junior Redbird representing Packback on the Illinois State University campus! While spreading the wonderful news of Packback, Alex is also a double major in International Business and Managerial Economics with a minor in Chinese. When he’s not highly involved in student organizations and being a strong member of the Packback Team, he’s jetsetting around the world; Alex is in the Netherlands until his next adventure: Germany.
image
How did you get started with Packback?
I started interning with Packback during my second year at Illinois State.  I had been reading a lot about startups and business culture at the time and the Packback Brand Ambassador program was just opening up.  It seemed like a good way to learn about these things firsthand so I applied right away.  The next thing I knew, I was in Chicago for a viewing party to see Packback featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.
What have you learned from working with Packback?
It’s the people that make the company.  The people I get to work with at Packback are some of the friendliest, most hard-working people I have ever met.  They really care about the mission and future of the company and that really says a lot to me.  Just having a great service is one thing, but having the drive to pick it up and get it to the next level is whole different animal.
List 3 things on your Bucket List
  • Visit every continent
  • Scuba dive in a ship wreck
  • Climb a mountain (a big one)
What’s your dream career?
At the moment I’m really interested in the economics of criminal organizations.  A career as an economic analyst would be pretty cool.  On the other hand, I’d like a career that would allow me to travel and be outdoors.  Possibly environmental conservation in Antarctica?  Looks like I’ve got some narrowing-down to do. 
Tell me about studying abroad! What’s the coolest things you’ve seen so far?
My study abroad program in the Netherlands is going very well, I’m on my last week! There’s a lot to see here.  Everybody rides their bikes.  There are thousands all over the city.  Our director has told us that there are more bikes than people in the Netherlands.  Pretty cool!  Getting ready to move to Germany for the summer after the program ends. Here are some pictures of my experience so far!
image

image

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

How to: Have a Productive College Summer!

By Tom Kalaj, Syracuse University
Packback Brand Ambassador

As summer approaches, students tend to have a relaxed mindset because of decreased responsibility that exists without classes and involvement. However, with an increasingly competitive workforce, it is beneficial to take advantage of your summer to get ahead of the competition. These tips will give you a productive, yet fun, break to prepare for the fall semester!

Getting a job should be one your top priorities. However, job searching as a college student is different than searching as a high schooler. During college breaks, try to find jobs and experience that have something to do with your career aspirations! For example, applying to be a bank teller is more beneficial to a finance major than a summer spent as a camp counselor- but being a camp counselor would be beneficial to an education major. The experience and knowledge in working towards your major is very attractive on resumes. Furthermore, there is a monetary benefit to working during the summer. A student can easily make enough money to pay for all their books, along with some fun money for the upcoming year, especially if they are using Packback to get their books.

Take Summer Classes

If you want to simply get ahead of your college curriculum or save some extra money, taking summer classes can be very beneficial. It is best to speak to a counselor first to see which classes will give you the most bang for your buck. Often times, students take the more difficult classes, especially gen-eds (math, language, etc,), in the summer because they are easier and usually on a pass-fail grading system. Also, it does not matter where you take these classes. Taking them at your local community college at home can save you loads of money when compared to larger, private universities. Even for a couple of credits, taking summer classes can make a big difference by saving you time, work, and money during the regular school year.

Get an Internship (…especially with Packback)

Similar to a job, an internship can give you hands-on experience towards your career path. While most internships are unpaid, there are still perks for working as an intern. Besides accumulating great experience and knowledge, most internships provide you with the same benefits as employees of the company receive. Interning for Packback is a great example of this. Free e-book rentals, communication with executive management and the attractable experience of working for a powerful startup are all valuable perks. Additionally, unlike other internships, Packback provides the opportunity to speak with their powerful investors every month. Finding the right internship can give you the upper hand when you finally get into the workforce after college, especially compared to your peers that failed to do anything with their summer vacation.

So, make the most out of your summers! Because would you rather have a job out of college, or a nice tan each fall?

PACKBACK by Rodrigo Aldecoa Falcon

First of all, let me tell you that I am no different from any other college student around U.S. I know what it is to wake up early for that class you do not want to attend, or stay long nights working on assignments that are due the next day. I know about not sleeping for a week during finals and having to deal with the unhealthy food of the campus cafeteria because you cannot afford eating out every day. Most likely, you have a work too, where you earn some money to cover your basic needs such as food and booze. Where does the rest of the money go to? Well, I know I spend a lot of money buying textbooks.

My college works with the quarter system, meaning I have to buy books 3 times a year at the beginning of each quarter. Most of my money goes for books I sometimes never use in class. Moreover the books required for class can cost up to $200, meaning that if you are taking five classes it can cost you $1000 per quarter or $3000 per academic year. If you stay in college for 4 years, you will spend $12,000 in books you many never use or open in your life. Is this fair? Don’t you feel you are wasting your money? Imagine all the things you could do with that money…buy a car, go on a vacation of a lifetime, more booze.., or taking your parents out for a nice dinner.  You could give a better use to that money than books you will use to balance the table when playing beer pong.

I am writing this message to you, my peers, because I believe I have found the solution to our problem, and it is PACKBACKBOOKS.COM. From selling all those elective courses books, comparing prices to find the cheapest option in the market, to renting books for $5 a day, Packback does it all. Exactly bro, rent your book for the finals week and get rid of the book afterwards.

I truly believe of the benefits of this webpage for students. I am proud to be doing an internship with this amazing start-up business as I feel this business just want to help students like you and me. The cofounders of the business just graduated a year ago from college, so they know about our struggle.

Trust me, spread the word and let everyone know about PACKBACKBOOKS.COM as it will make your college life much easier.

Peace all.

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

This week’s Packback Brand Ambassador highlight — Ian

Ian Stellmach 
Driehaus College of Commerce
Depaul University
Packback Brand Ambassador

What do I find most interesting about Packback?

I think it is awesome and interesting that the founders started their business as ambitious college students and now their creative and innovative idea is a reality! It just goes to show you hard work and perseverance really pays off. Keep killing it Packback!

Where do I see Packback in 10 years?

I see Packback being the first website college kids check to see if their current college course textbooks are available to rent.

List 3 things on my bucket list

1. Travel to Socotras!

2. Tag along with the National Geographic film crew on some epic adventures!

3. Helicopter snowboarding drop in the Swiss Alps!

Celebrity Crush:

Most definitely Olivia Wilde <3

 

My Business à Jam City:

Jam City is a cross between social network, matching network, an avatar world, and a platform for musical duels. Jam City is a place where people who are striving to become musicians, log on to learn, create, record, and share music. It is a place to meet fellow musicians to jam with, battle against, or start a band with. The main objective is to have fun playing music in a socially interactive way.

The new value that is being created through Jam City is an affordable online area where players can access from the convenience their computers. In this area people who are passionate about music can come to play, learn, develop new relationships, create music, create a band, compete, self promote, share talents, and strive for greatness. Never before have musicians had an opportunity like this to connect with their personal music passion with convenience and affordability.

Check out Packback’s Co-Founder Mike Shannon!

image

How did you get started with Packback?
I had a few friends in college, we were bored with classes and looking for a new challenge. The University business plan competition was approaching so we dedicated a whole bunch of weekends to gathering around a case of beer and spit-balling ideas. I had a class in which this kid used to always ask me to borrow my book. I was a senior and therefore had more or less retired my attention span in this class, so I was fine letting him borrow it. In doing so, an idea crossed my mind: “hey it would be cool if there was a machine, like a Redbox, that dispensed textbooks right on campus so that kids like this can have it temporarily in class for a few bucks”. I took this nugget of thought back to the beer sessions. My friend Kasey added a digital component to the idea, our accountant buddy Nick figured out how to make the numbers work, and my friend Jessica made it all look beautiful. Eventually we scrapped the physical model entirely (way too much cost + engineering nightmare) and focused solely on digital. A bit of market research later and we realized there was a huge student demand as well as a solution here that might actually help the entire publishing industry. About 50 hours of constantly re-iterating the idea and refining the strategy later, we won first place in that contest with v1 of a plan that we called Packback. …that’s how I got started with Packback. 

What’s your favorite part about working for Packback?
Easy, it’s the people. And that’s not just some cheesy bullshit answer. A company really just boils down to a collection of people gathered together for a common purpose. Great people, if that company is to survive. I’ve been fortunate enough to see ours grow from a couple of friends sitting in apartment buildings, bars, and library study rooms imagining the things we could do. Eventually this collection of people grew to a few advisors who were kind enough to answer emails and take a meeting every few months. More recently it’s been incredible to see a team of the smartest most highly motivated people I know come together for regular 12 hour workdays.  And yes, most exciting of all, watching this small idea amplified throughout the nation by an army of amazing campus ambassadors. I believe pretty strongly that your personal growth expands with the company you keep. Given that notion, there’s really no question about my favorite part of Packback. 

What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Not sure if I can call it a childhood memory, since I started as a senior in high school, but being a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls was a pretty awesome experience. When I was growing up, I had a clearly defined 3-step goal system: 1.) Get drafted into the NBA, 2.) Become an All-Star Champion in the NBA, 3.) Conduct a killer NBA Hall of Fame induction speech. Given my stellar record playing NBA Street 2 on GameCube, this was the obvious path for me. Shockingly, those dreams were cut short when dirty politics (or was it lack of height?) resulted in my never making the high school hoops team. I remained a huge fan, and when a glimpse at the Bulls opportunity was presented I pounded on the door until it opened. 

The thrill of meeting players and watching games wears off, however. What was really cool for me was gaining a visceral understanding of how the machine works. I observed game after game how the “big show” was manufactured. When you can bring the “dreams” down to real life it actually opens up your mind for truly advanced exploration. I was the dorky suburban kid growing up who thought that my life would be complete if I met Allen Iverson. Ironically enough, I ended up working in the Sixers’ locker room the last time Allen Iverson ever played in an NBA game. As he was exiting the locker room after the game, we exchanged the following dialogue: “A’ight Iverson”, “A’ight man”. I like to think of that as his passing the torch to me (joke). But seriously, between seeing my man AI, watching Jordan honored at the twenty-year ’91 championship team reunion, and countless interactions with the recent D-Rose gang, the fantasy gradually decomposes to reality and you think: “Ok, that was really cool, but what else is out there to explore?”. 

If you won $1 million, what would you buy?
I’d buy .1% of Packback. 

What advice do you have for your Packback Brand Ambassadors?
Use the hell out of Packback [your experience]. When you’re a student looking out at the black box of career uncertainty, it’s pretty intimidating. The biggest challenge can be opening doors, and to do that you need leverage. We’re here to be your leverage. I used to hawk down every speaker that came to ISU, grab their business card, and build a relationship through carefully crafted emails. Every leader on our team, and most people you’ll meet in the start-up world, have mastered the art of “network hacking” (not in a black hat sense, of course). Help us help you. Your involvement in Packback isn’t just a way to rope in a few bucks and gain some hands on marketing experience. It’s an entryway into an incredibly special tribe -something like Shredder’s underground gang, “the Foot”, but for a good purpose (for you Ninja Turtle fans). This is your escape into entrepreneurship. Take advantage of the Packback community. For some more color, here’s a piece I wrote about the type of weird crowd we like to surround ourselves with at PackbackWhat’s your story? 

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

Packback Team Spotlight—Deepak Goel, CTO of Packback

Packback Team Spotlight

Deepak Goel CTO of Packback

1. How did you get started with Packback?
I met Mike and Kasey in April 2013 and became an informal advisor to them. We met several times over the next 3-4 months.I loved their energy and passion so much that I ended up leaving my cushy job at Nokia to help build Packback.

2. What is your favorite part about working with Packback?
At Packback, we are disrupting the textbook industry and doing something that has never been attempted before. I get to meet 8-10 students every week – this is the part I love most about my job.

3. Where do you see Packback in the next 10 years?
I see Packback becoming every American student’s friend in next 2-3 years. Before buying/selling textbooks, every student will visit Packback to get the best deal on books.

4. What advice do you have for our Packback Brand Ambassadors?
I have two – Don’t spend too much time at a big company unless you get promotedevery year. Go work for a startup instead.
Second – Don’t take too long to change functions if you are not enjoying the current one.

5. What did your college experience teach you?
I should always behave as if I am still in college i.e. I should be learning lifelong.

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/

Brand Ambassador Spotlight —Deavondre Jones, Columbia College

Packback Brand Ambassador Spotlight

Deavondre Jones

Columbia College

image

How did you get started with Packback?

I got started with Packback by attending an event, held in the infamous 1871 tech start up, that was about entrepreneurship and networking within Chicago. Kasey was one the highlight entrepreneurs and not only did I fall in love with the company but I saw the same passion and drive in Kasey that Isee in myself.


What do you find most interesting about Packback?
What I find most interesting about Packback is how far it has came and how far it has to go. The company has shown resilience and its impressive but I am anxious to see how far it will go. It’s a company with a story and a disruptive model to the ancient text book system, it’s either all or nothing for this company - and that is intriguing.  

If you could have dinner with one person in history, dead or alive, who would it be?

If I could go to dinner with one person in history, dead, or alive, it would Nelson Mandala. He has many perspectives and experiences that I would love to ask questions about. Humbled beginnings, political career, social influence, leadership and foreign affairs  - are just a fraction of what I would discuss with him. 

What do you enjoy the most about being a college student?

What I enjoy most about being a college student is having a perfect excuse to ask unorthodox questions. If you’re 30 and you walk to a CEO and ask about starting a business or his personal life, he’ll probably think you should know how to start a business and you’re being creepy. But if you’re a student, typically people are much more willing to help. (Not suggesting that you should creep on CEO’s or ask random people weird questions)

About DanceSpire

DanceSpire is a service company that mixes performance art and motivational speaking to deliver inspirational messages. We do this by delivering presentations that include segments of dance and public speaking.


Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKBZISCT_8o

Website: www.todancetoinspire.com

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks, check out: Packback

5 Cool (and free!) Websites for Students

5. Prezi - prezi.com 

It’s time to upgrade your Powerpoint. Prezi gives people the tools to
create an immersive, attention-grabbing presentation through the use
of a highly customizable “zooming canvas”. Instead of a traditional
slideshow, Prezi’s unique design all takes place on the same plane,
moving fluidly between your presentation’s pictures and information.

image

4. LibriVox - librivox.org 

Driving home for break and need a way to alleviate the boredom? Go
to LibriVox and download one of their hundreds of books in .mp3 
format free of charge. LibriVox is a library of audiobooks within the
public domain that are read aloud by volunteers. There are all sorts of
genres available, from classics like Moby Dick to children’s books, so
you should be able to find something you like. You can also donate
your time to read a book aloud for LibriVox if you’re looking for
something to do.

image

3. Duolingo - duolingo.com 

Lots of people want to learn a new language but not many have the time. Duolingo offers an easy way to practice languages in your spare time and it looks nice too. Plus, if they don’t yet have the language you’re looking for there’s a way to request new language programs. They currently offer Spanish, French, Italian, German and Portuguese and are working on completing Turkish, Dutch, and Russian. They also have an iOS and Android application for learning on the go.

image

2. Pixlr - pixlr.com

Messing around on Photoshop is fun, but not many students are able to afford the lofty price tag that comes with it. Pixlr provides an in-browser utility that very nearly emulates Adobe Photoshop CS4. The keystrokes can be a little tricky since some of them overlap with the browser’s own, but for a small project Pixlr has the ability to clone stamp, blend, and adjust levels as well as its more expensive cousin.

image

1. Codecademy - codecademy.com

Coding is a valuable skill that not many people know how to do. Codeacademy enables anybody with a computer to get a solid background in a few different types of coding including HTML, Java, JQuery, and Ruby. Each code language is broken down into lessons, and each lesson is made up of step-by-step processes. If you get stuck, they also offer examples they have made that you can guide off of. This website offers the option of making a free account that will track your progress for you and award you at various milestones.

image

By Alex Brewer

image

To find out more on how to save BIG on textbooks: check out: http://www.packbackbooks.com/