Registration season: survival of the fittest

By Kate Cullen

Students arm themselves for battle with descriptions from various courses, rankings from Rate My Professors and adviser overrides. It is a dog eat dog world on campus and there’s only one plausible explanation: registration season. The battle begins when the floodgates of registration are opened and after the James Scholars have picked their classes, the rest of the peasants can feast on their leftovers — hungry with the will to do whatever it takes for the prized goal of not having class on Fridays.

Undergraduates anxiously mobilize all forms of social media in search of the easiest non-western, the advanced composition class that requires the least amount of writing and the online class with no tests. All of these classes are an undergraduate’s dream, and every semester students tirelessly go in search of them through word of mouth, disregarding the fact that they may be elusive myths composed of mere fantasy. All of this effort is done to fulfill general education and major requirements so students are one step closer to the end game: graduation.

Upperclassmen are well aware of the strategy needed to execute the perfect registration. It is a set of acquired skills that can only be achieved through practice and scheming tactics centered around one selfish goal: to keep others out of your desired class and to make sure you get in. After all, all is fair in war and registration.

Since mayhem would erupt if everyone registered at the same time, the University devised a plan to give each student a registration time slot, which indicates when that student can begin choosing classes. Graduation year and completed hours determine how the time slots are assigned. Despite this well thought-out plan, students have found a loophole.

Students who find themselves in the unlucky predicament of being in the last batch of registration may ask a friend to save a spot in a class for them. This tactic must act like a well-oiled machine, as it is essential that the two friends work in harmony together. Once that student is able to register, the friend simply drops the class while the other simultaneously picks it up.

Though you run the risk of your friend suddenly realizing that they, too, want to register for the same class, it is a risk you must be willing to take. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Don’t be afraid to throw them off your trail by asking them to register for more than one class for you. Sometimes, you have to be a shark. And this is one of those times.

Any clever student well versed in the art of registration knows that the war is not over until the final add/drop day of the semester has passed. Even if you lose the battle of not getting into a class the minute your time ticket begins, you know that you have not yet lost the war. Many students will continue to stalk the class, patiently waiting, like an animal hunting its prey, for a single student to drop the class. It only takes one spot to open up before they are able to sneak in and snatch it up. This takes patience and faith. Two things an experienced registration expert knows all too well.

It is every man for himself as students are driven with the desire to make the ultimate schedule that all of their friends will be jealous of. Being done with class by noon is essential and eight a.m. classes are out of the question. Those who sheepishly approach registration will be left behind with nothing more than a full load on Fridays and awkward breaks that can only be spent by inconveniently napping in the Union. I pity you.

Kate is a senior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected]