Paper for Paper: Note-taking Pays

studying pays 2BY CAMILLE ARBOLES AND LILIANA PFEIFER

“Extra cash” is not a common term in the vernacular of a college student who typically lives off Cup of Noodles and slaves over a pile of thick textbooks and meticulous notes.

But for an enterprising few, the art of notetaking can become a lucrative job.

In recent years on college campuses, students who religiously attend class have reaped the benefits of selling their notes to less diligent students who decide to ditch.

“I feel like that is a very marketable skill,” said senior Amy Pelch, “but it ís lame not to go to class. You pay a lot of money to go to college, and then you’re paying more money for notes?”

Some students agree that selling notes is a profitable and even clever undertaking. It can be advantageous to use already available resources to bring in that needed extra cash.

“I’m okay with people selling them because then you’re making use of your skills and resources for money,” said junior Whei Hsin Lee.

While some admire the resourcefulness of students who sell their notes, others disagree with the process and find it unethical.

“It’s okay to share notes and work collaboratively,” said senior Lora McManus, “but I don’t think it is ethical to simply skip class and assume that you can buy class from someone else who actually did the work. It’s like buying your grade.”

The more obvious problem is that college students who front cash for notes will eventually move into the workforce. Students who buy their way through classes might not be equipped to handle independent critical thinking in demanding professional careers.

“How does earning a grade unfairly translate to one day earning a salary? Are you going to buy someone else’s resume too?” asked McManus.

It seems pointless for students to attend college if they will resort to ditching class regularly and buying lecture notes. Some universities take offense to the practice of selling notes and believe it goes against their educational code.

In 2010, California State University’s chancellor spoke out against the matter. The chancellor’s office sent a strongly-worded letter to Ryan Stevens, the 22-year-old founder of NoteUtopia, an online program where college students buy and sell notes, that claimed the business was unethical and that California’s state education code prohibits “any business or person from selling or otherwise distributing or publishing class notes for a commercial purpose.”

With or without such websites, students still continue to buy and sell notes regularly on college campuses. Regulating the note market is too difficult.

“Even if you make something difficult to get, people will still find a way to get it,” said sophomore Mallory Neithart.