Too late into my university career did I learn about the textbook search feature available through UFV’s website. I had always wondered how so many of my fellow students showed up to the first class with the textbook in hand. I always assumed that surely they must have either emailed the professor ahead of time for the syllabus, or spent hours trapped in the labyrinth of the bookstore painstakingly triple-checking for the small print-out Post-it notes on the shelves that matched their specific class section.

This might be painfully obvious to many of you, but as a cartoon once said, “If I haven’t seen it, it’s new to me,” dammit.

It never occured to me that there could be a simpler way to know, and especially that a simpler, more efficient way could be found on UFV’s website. Granted, the website is leagues ahead of myUFV, which has conditioned me to become instantly frustrated at the mere thought of navigating for information in a timely and intuitive manner on anything branded in our proud green and white. Furthermore, how often these days — with as much information and opportunity that is only available online — does anything really work as intended?

Between the Tim Hortons and McDonalds apps, for example (which are meant to make things quicker and simpler), I can count at least a dozen failures, frustrations, and borderline catastrophes that have awakened in me the same primal angers that must have driven the 19th-century movement of textile workers and weavers in the Luddite movement.

Yet on our university websites, the scrappy but dependable underdog (or possible Malcolm in the Middle-child at this point) of post-secondary education in B.C., have I discovered something truly intuitive, and proof of our civilization’s technological advances as being worthwhile. Filter by campus, subject, class, section, whatever you’d like, as long as you vaguely remember what classes you signed up for. Somehow it’s more advanced than the notepad document that is our usual timetable. Got multiple classes, and in both Chilliwack and Abbotsford? Fret not, the textbook search saves your selections until you are ready to head to the checkout.

So simple, so refreshingly easy and straightforward, it will fill you with that smug contentedness as you finally browse over your entire cart and begin immediately plugging the titles into Books2Go, and various torrent search engines. Granted, Books2Go encounters are more awkward and frustrating than the checkout at the bookstore (are we supposed to chitchat? Should I ask you about the class? Do I describe what I look like, or just where we should meet?), and you don’t get tax receipts; at least you won’t have to auction off your kidney on the black market. And if you’re looking for savings, but lacking motivation, energy, or the patience to talk to a human person, the clipboard pastes just as as well into Amazon searches.

I hope we all make ourselves proud this upcoming semester, and do well in our courses. But a special self-pat on the back (please don’t touch people) should be reserved and celebrated for whoever put together the fancy and fun UFV textbook search.

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