Pandora’s box of stress opens for St. Olaf students when registration does. What starts as a simple “What classes are you taking next semester?” turns into a not-so-simple “What number are you out of 28 in that BTS-T class when ranking it first?”
If I don’t get my BTS-T this semester, I have to take it next semester, and then I won’t be able to take my EIN until senior year, but I probably won’t even be able to get into that class because #registrationsux. Too personal? Too personal.
The entire registration weekend constitutes of either grandiose or soul-crushing expectations. Every St. Olaf student falls into one of these two categories.
In the first category, they have elaborate plans for their future based off the fate of one class. They think “if I get into Jennifer Kwon Dobbs’ Journalism class, I may have a promising future as a journalist at the New York Times or, even better, the Manitou Messenger.” For this student, their future is only as promising as the outcome of their class enrollment.
On the opposite side of the spectrum lies the student stuck in a downward spiral of thought. This student thinks, ‘If I don’t get into that class, I won’t be able to complete my major, which means my lifelong dream of being a horticulturist won’t come true, I will end up living on the streets of Northfield and eventually die of sadness and hypothermia.’ Nightmare stuff, really.
And the nightmare seems endless, especially when there are monsters out there who have yet to register, yet to take our places and our futures as horticulturists with just one click of a button. To the four percent of students that are not “participating as of the last moment on the last day of registration,” I want to utter my sincere condolences to your family … after I pull a Liam Neeson from “Taken” on you. It is because of you, four percent, that I have been kicked out of classes that I thought were guaranteed.
I try to imagine your reasons, four percent. Maybe you’re a thrill seeker, taking a break from entering Stav without an ID, who delights in clicking ‘add new schedule’ moments before registration closes. Maybe you’re power hungry and feed off the pure panic in your peers’ eyes, secretly grinning at your 1/16 spot. Maybe, despite the constant reminders to “sign up for classes!” from your classmates, professors and that dreaded email system, you forget.
Whatever the reason, I hope one day the system glitches and reveals the secret 4 percent, revealing you students as you truly are: evil.
Yet registration is a game of chance, a lottery per se, and as lotteries serve both the good and the wicked equally, we Oles have to take our fate into our own hands. First, take advantage of pre-registration. Pre-registration is predestination to a glory-filled future; however, the beautiful combat to the archaic registration game only applies to specific classes. So the next step would be schmoozing the professors. Professors here are more than willing to help out so, prior to registration, prepare questions, go to office hours and just talk to them! If you’re still out of luck and can’t get into your beloved class, add it in the last 5 minutes. Most people would rather play it safe than risk losing a class, so they’ll switch classes and comfortably settle for their second choice. Yes, this makes you as monstrous as the evil 4 percent but sometimes you just have to play dirty to win the game. If all else fails, have backup schedules. If you don’t have a few classes on the backburner, you’re just asking for disappointment.
Honestly, when it comes to registration, prepare for disappointment. Students who desperately need classes for their GEs or majors must rely completely on a randomized number. There is only one thing more horrifying than a lottery deciding your class future – a lottery deciding your living situation. Room draw…now that’s a nightmare.