Delegation for Grad Students aka Kinkos


The university gives me a reasonable 1,000 page print quota but my relationship with Kinkos is budding into a cautious semi-reliable "family". I imagine this is what overloards say to small companies. Not a partnership but those ambiguous marketing words.

Believe it or not, evidently I surpassed 1,000 pages of printing last quarter of 99.9% legit school material. My teachers like slides and articles. Maybe there was an issue with the print spooler. So, this quarter, when I signed up with Oreilly Safari for a few books and reference materials for my Design Pattern class, I told myself to use Kinkos and I have to tell you, Kinkos has potential to become a Grad Student tool.

What? Why pay for printing?! I'm going to preface this by saying that I should have invested in a duplexing laser printer. That really would have solved most of my problems but not my budget.
- Not printing my notes is a bad idea. Some people like to read things on their computers. I get distracted with the internet. Better for me and my notes to print them out.
- Annotation on paper is still easier. Yes, I've used OneNote and TabletPc. Heck, both together! I like my highlighters and colossal Pen collection
- My single sided laser printer eats double fed sheets. It prints, just not duplex1 friendly.
- Inkjet printer is re-feed friendly but the ink bleeds once I highlight it
- Avoid asking the lab dude to give me more quota. He probably spent 15 minutes or more reading my e-mail last quarter explaining exactly how I used my print quota in a ethical manner for slides and articles (not even books)
- Avoid sucking up printer time at work. Especially if the printer is near your boss.
- Them working while I'm asleep or in class. I feel like I'm getting something done in my "hostage" time. Not that sleeping is hostage time. But being productive by delegation. I wonder if managers get this feeling.
- Reasonably Priced Office Supplies. I'm all for Office Supplies. I'm even more for Office Supplies at odd hours. Most for buying a folder to shove that huge report into at the last minute on your way to a 7am class.
- Bind your notes. If you've ever seen my piles, this makes tons of sense. This might be the part where I'd also consider getting a used comb binding machine. But then again, there's that satisfying delegation.

I've also come up with a few extra ways of delegating. This can be tough when you're at the bottom of the totem pole (as grad students often are) but uh, hey, we need help, too. And even if I did have time to hand feed the printer, I have other things I'd rather be doing.

They're not 100% reliable but I've found the key is going to a good Kinkos. I've found my local branch of "corporate" Kinkos to be quite decent. This is a branch largely taking corporate orders (they delegate too!) with about 5 self-serve copy machines, a sign printing office, fedex (of course), and a massive behind the counter operation. My friend Jay used to work there and from that, I surmise that people there are reasonably intelligent. This can work in your favor as they will dummy check slides printed on odd directions. This can also work against you in the same scenario. That is when you remember that they can't read your mind and you're only paying 8 cents a page. Though the workers are pretty nice at my location when they/I do get something wrong and quick to correct it.

1 duplex means it prints on both sides of the paper. Without me reloading the printed pages.