We are here in the waning COVID era and people have become more locked down in society than perhaps they already were before all the “shelter in place” orders.
Even after COVID regulations were lifted and people were free to visit their favorite stores and restaurants again, getting everything delivered via UberEats or Instacart has become the norm for some people.
The same could be said of how GHC students prefer to obtain their textbooks and other necessary course supplies through the college bookstore. Given that there are only two physical bookstores on the Cartersville and Rome campuses, how essential are they to student life when everything is accessible online?
Even as a Paulding student who buys all my textbooks online, I can see the benefits of having on-campus bookstores. They offer items and services that are not accessible online and give students at these campuses immediate access to the items they need.
Eden Holland, a nursing student who attends the Rome campus, said bookstores are essential on the larger GHC campuses because of their convenience and the number of students who frequent them.
“People always like to come in and see what they’re about to buy,” Holland said. “I really think having him here is good because…you can’t be spontaneous with stuff online.”
Stepping into the bookstore is like stepping into the student equivalent of a candy store. I often spend more time in the bookstore than I should browsing through all the different options available. There’s a plethora of snacks, drinks, school supplies, college-minded products, and even personal essentials.
Rome is nearly an hour from my home in Paulding County, so it’s really handy to have a selection of supplies just minutes away. On my visit to one of the larger campuses, I might come in and buy cookies and water.
Holland told me she also had to drive an hour and ten minutes to get to the Rome campus from Jasper, so she’s in the same boat.
“You never know when you’re going to need something because you never know what’s going to happen while you’re here,” Holland said. “It’s not like I can drive home and grab something I need very easily.”
On-campus bookstores also carry items that are not available online.
Nursing students like Holland have to go to the bookstore to buy the nursing kits needed for their classes.
Art students must also purchase art kits for their classes.
It was explained to me by Lee Duke, salesman at the Rome campus bookstore, that these kits are not available anywhere else.
“They’re tailor-made for each department,” Duke said. “[The instructors] better determine what they need to better teach their students.
It’s also helpful for students to have immediate access to bookstore associates like Duke to help with any issues. Duke told me they try to be as accommodating as possible with students.
While I was talking with Duke, a student came in with the rain check money for a cup of coffee.
“We do a lot of personal things for the students if we can help them,” Duke said.
While it’s helpful to have a bookstore on campus, Akira Monroe, a child development specialist at Paulding campus, said it’s easier to get textbooks online than to go. in bookstores.
“I think [Paulding] it goes without one just because we have the online option,” Monroe said. “And it’s one of the smaller campuses compared to Rome and Cartersville that has the bookstores, so I think we’re good without that.”
Monroe added that on-campus bookstores are still good for students taking more in-person classes in Rome and Cartersville.
The Paulding campus is in an area with a Kroger, QuikTrip and Starbucks which are all only a five minute drive away. The Rome and Cartersville campuses are isolated from the city on the edges of the highways.
The digital age may be steadily moving into the future that we all covet sci-fi movies, but in-store shopping is still essential to student life as it is to the rest of the world. You simply can’t beat the ability to walk into your favorite store and be amazed by its offerings.