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The Broke Diaries

The Completely True and Hilarious Misadventures of a Good Girl Gone Broke

The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
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“People always say I’m going to look back on these days and laugh — why put it off?”

When Angela Nissel found herself struggling financially while in college, instead of sulking, she decided to entertain herself by creating an online journal that chronicled her day-to-day trials and tribulations. Written with humor and intelligence, her “Broke Diary” quickly found an audience as people wrote to Angela to empathize with, console, and laugh with her about her experiences and even share their own. The Broke Diaries is the first complete compilation of her experiences, written in a voice that is funny, unique, and dead-on.

On buying ramen noodles: I am sooooooo embarassed. I only have 33 cents. I (please don’t laugh) put the money on the counter and quickly attempt to dash out with my Chicken Flavored Salt Noodles. The guy calls me back! I look up instinctively, I should have run . . . Why didn’t I run???!! He tells me the noodles are 35 cents. I try to apologize sincerely. I thought the sign said 33 cents yesterday, so that’s all I brought with me. Could he wait while I ran home and get the 2 cents? I show him my student I.D. to let him know I am not a thief. He shakes his head and motions either for me to get the hell out of his store and never come back again or get the money as do come back. I don’t know. He said something like “Nyeh” and swiped his hand in my direction.
I can’t translate hand motions well.
The noodles: tasty!!!
Random House Publishing Group; June 2001
ISBN 9780375506703
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Title: The Broke Diaries
Author: Angela Nissel
October 7

Dear Broke Diary:

Knowledge should be free.

And today, at the University of Pennsylvania, it was.

Only with the truly broke can a beautifully planned day of study turn into a burglary.

I love having the same classes as my friends. Usually, when we combine our purchasing power, we can afford all of the books for the class. One set that we all share, of course.

But not this anthropology class me and Janelle, my closest brokest friend, are enrolled in. This class has three required books and a bulkpack (a bound collection of essays from multiple authors). What the hell was this professor thinking?

I wish they bootlegged books like they bootleg albums. Where’s the man with the briefcase full of stolen books?

Eff a fake Gucci watch. Start hawking photocopies of textbooks. You’ll be a tax-free millionaire in no time.

No, know what I want? Thugs who just rough up professors who assign too many books. Especially professors who assign books they themselves authored. The book thugs wouldn’t hurt ’em, just, like, corner them in a lab late one night and scare them into shame.

Thug [knocking petri dish to the floor]: Yeah, I knocked over your little dish! You wanna do something about it?! Huh,
do you??!

Professor [cowering in corner]: Please, sir!!! Leave me be!! Is it money you’re after? I don’t have any money in here! Just fetal pigs!

Thug: Sure, you don’t have any money! We know you’re getting kickbacks from the publishing companies for assigning these overpriced books!! And how are you going to assign a book you wrote your damn self?!! Why, I should—

Professor: Please, take all the drugs you want! In fact, I’ll make you some drugs! Please, go!

Thug [punches hole in Periodic Table of Elements Chart]: I’ll be back.

Oops. I didn’t mean to start writing a screenplay. Sorry. Just get a little emotional sometimes. Got all this aggression up in me ’cause, man, I wanna learn, too!

Anyway. Me and ’Nelle did split the cost of the anthro bulkpack but, man, we were jonesing for that textbook. Not having that textbook has put us mad behind.

Yesterday, we made a plan to bridge that broke learning gap. Janelle is convinced Joel, the teaching assistant, gives her special looks during class. (Yes, she said “special looks.” How funny, right?!! What the hell is a “special look”?)

So she suggested we go to his office hours and double-team him: I’d kiss up and she’d flirt.

Anyway, I was down for the plan, but the only special look I want from Joel is the look he gives my midterms and final when he smacks an A on both of ’em.

Today was supposed to be the first day on the quest to have Joel smack my A.

Janelle and I met up in front of Van Pelt Library and walked over to the university museum. Just two normal, innocent college girls walking to class. We could have made the “Guide for Prospective Parents” video. Janelle even had a bow in her hair. Ah, it was perfect.

We were still pure and innocent as we walked up the museum stairs, down the left-end hall, and into Joel’s office. He wasn’t there, so we just plopped down on the beat-up office love seat and started chatting.

That’s when we saw it. Perched on top of a stack of papers on his desk.

Yes, it was . . . The Textbook.