Course Selection-A Study in Frustration

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Written by May Warren

It’s 6:59 am and your alarm has just gone off. Going to class? Leaving for an early road trip? None of the above. It’s that time of year again: freak snowstorms, midterms, and course selection.

Whether you are in first year of fifth course selection is always a stressful process. There is no greater joy in an undergraduate’s life then getting up in the wee hours of the morning just to wait around for an extra half to get logged on to webadvisor. Surprisingly, everyone else has had the same idea and nobody can get through. Of course, being greeted by that cheeky little cartoon griffin telling you you’ve done something wrong/the system is overloaded/its just not going to work out is an experience not to be missed.

Then there’s the classic computer freeze, always a favourite, and who can forget that feeling you get when you finally succeed in logging on, just to find out that all of your courses are full?

However, all of these problems only occur if you’re lucky enough to pick during one of the first days in the course selection window of opportunity. If you find yourself at the end there’s no point in getting up early because everything that you a) were interested in b) need in order to graduate and c) doesn’t require an 8:30 start time, will most certainly be at capacity. Of course there’s always those TBA (to be announced) classes. Day, time, prof, and even subject matter are all to be announced. So how are we supposed to commit ourselves? Good question.

Of course there are some tricks and tools of the trade. After three years of course selection, certain loopholes come in handy. For instance if you don’t get into a class you really need or want you can always try the after bar webadvisor check in. Odds are if someone else has dropped course in the last couple of hours no on else will think to check in and you’ll get the spot. Make sure you aren’t too drunk though. You don’t want to end up accidentally signing up for first year beekeeping.

Not having the right perquisites or trying to register for six courses is another big headache. Why can’t webadvisor be programmed to understand each and every one of our unique situations? Why can’t it just understand that even though we don’t have all (or any) of the prerequisites we just belong in the course?

These pitfalls require us to step away from the computer, fill out a form by hand and wait in line to talk to a real person. Something many of us may have forgotten how to do. Of course, this begs the question: what did people do before webadvisor?

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