By Anna DeSmet
Even in my lowly, three-semester experience of college registration, I know it sucks. It’s frustrating, lengthy and, also like some of my dates, leaves me wondering why I bothered in the first place. It’s like a maze, except it’s the labyrinth from Grecian hell; it’s dark, there might be spiders, the dead ends are actually just corners and you’re trapped.
Look, I am an organized person. I could put Martha Stewart to shame if I dared. But there is no amount of highlighters, Post-its and lists that can fully prepare someone for registration. Every time, I have a perfect plan that will give me happiness and success. Then one small detail will change and all is ruined. In that way, it’s sort of like life.
For example, there are four classes I want to take next semester all in the same time slot, and for most that is their only section. Perspectives in Biology, which I was planning on taking to fulfill the Lab Science requirement, had seven people on the waitlist before my first round of registration even began. The other Biology classes I could take have that nasty little disclaimer attached to their class descriptions: “Intended for Biology and Environmental Science majors.” What a load of horse spit. The one Bio class for non-majors only holds 32 people, but WebAdvisor has the nerve to ask me to leave the other Biology classes for people who need it. (I do, don’t worry. I know they need it more desperately than I do, etc.)
But I know my frustration and anger are useless, because I can’t think of a magical solution. Or I can, but I know that realistically something will get in its way. Our school is simply too small to offer many sections of any one class. If it was bigger, there would be more competition for the classes we want. Tuition could be more expensive to make up for lost profit… but no one really wants that.
But let’s look on the bright side, shall we? For some people, registration is a smooth and rewarding process. Somehow, miraculously, they have escaped the frantic scramble of completely changing their schedule in five minutes so they don’t miss out on that one class. These are the same people who believe in the fortunate power of lucky pennies or rainbows.
For the rest of us, registration teaches us the necessity of hard choices. It’s all about cutting away the less necessary from the most necessary. It’s prepping students for a minimalist lifestyle, if they wish it.
Hopefully, your schedule will not be the barren home of someone who shops exclusively at Ikea. These are my few tips and tricks—none of them are particularly helpful: I have found the best way to cope with the pressing fear I won’t get the class I need to graduate is to find as many alternate classes as possible, make a list of all of those classes in their respective time slots, create an ideal schedule and five other realistic ones, plan to email and beg my way into a full class if need be, or completely ignore the problem and let Future Me deal with it. Guess which method I always end up choosing. That’s right. Here’s to another semester of third- and fourth-choice classes that end up being pretty alright.