Editor’s Column – Registration: Quit Your Bitchin’

Mike Nanna

Registration is a stressful time for all of us. It’s not often that someone gets exactly the classes they want, at the most convenient times, with the most interesting professors. This time of year is when we hear the usual complaints: “My parents didn’t pay 40 grand for me to be stuck in a class I don’t want to take!”, “Why didn’t they open up more than 15 measly spots for this class?” and my all time favorite, “At least kids in other schools can get into the classes they want”.

I won’t lie and say I haven’t said these exact words at one time or another. In fact, when I got stuck without a fourth class over the summer I was telling everyone I saw how bad we have it at the ‘Gate. I ended up getting into a small religion class that looked mildly interesting but had little “value” for my pre-med track. I wasn’t thrilled about the class in the beginning but then something funny happened: I actually liked it. The moral of the story is obvious and a little corny, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Expanding one’s academic horizons and taking a class that doesn’t immediately appeal can actually be extremely enjoyable. When one considers that we all came to this school fully aware of its liberal arts focus, doesn’t it make sense that we take some random classes here and there?

I understand how the pressures of the impending “real world” can make it unrealistic to take somewhat atypical courses. I still cannot deny that being refused from an important class in one’s major can be devastating. With that said, how often does anyone really get denied from an essential course? I would venture to call it rare. Most of the time, if the class is a necessity, we can get in. The common complaint that there are never enough open spots seems to contradict the small class sizes that attracted many of us here in the first place. If there were fifty spots open for a popular class like “Sports and The Scientific Method”, the class simply wouldn’t be the same. Small class sizes are often what make the classes desirable in the first place.

For those of us that begin touting the virtues of other universities when faced with a little adversity during registration, I challenge you to find another university who handles registration significantly better. Every one of my friends has told me registration horror stories, even those who go to large universities with massive class sizes. Even if it is easier to get the classes we want at a larger university, it comes with the sacrifice of those indispensable small class sizes. Logistics dictate that we simply can’t have both.

I don’t mean to criticize those of you still reeling from registration woes for voicing your pain. There is no doubt that, when I was in your position, I was the biggest complainer of them all. What I urge all of you to examine, is whether your position is really as bad as it seems. Would we really trade in the ability to actually meet with our professors just so we could get a few more classes we want? Do we really get held out of that many classes we need to take? Are circumstances that much better at other schools? Of course it wouldn’t hurt if a few more sections were opened in some of the more popular courses, but at this point we shouldn’t be shedding too many tears. Registration will never be perfect, but here at the ‘Gate, we certainly don’t have it half bad.