T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” begins by reminding us that “April is the cruelest month.” April 1 kicks off the month when things speed up before winding down. Today is also the day when you doubt any story you read. But another interesting aspect of the day this year is that it is the start of course registration.
Signing up for courses is no joke. Classes, lab sections, workshops, and recitations fill up. Sometimes, your entire schedule plan is shredded to pieces by the time it is your turn to register. Perhaps you even miss out on a required course for your major.
Why does course registration need to start at eight in the morning? Nobody in college wants to wake up that early to register for courses. For rising sophomores, the last registration group ends at 1:45 p.m. Would there really be any downside to moving all course registration times two hours later, so that it starts at 10 a.m. instead of eight?
Despite the sleep deprivation, I like waking up early to secure my spot in the classes I want.
Getting the perfect choice of schedule is an art and a science that borders on being a competition. Some course registration grandmasters have gone down in the history books for securing spots in all their classes before the official registration time, while others scored points for being the last person to sign up before the class filled up.
I like to think of myself as a master scheduler. I pride myself on my schedule this semester. With two classes that meet Tuesday and Thursday, and two double-length weekly classes that meet Tuesday and Wednesday, I secured the holy grail of planning: a regular four-day weekend.
It’s easy to not be a STEM major. I have no required courses for my major, and there are many options for ways to fulfill various requirements for it.
Some people go for longer weekends. Others only take classes that start after noon, allowing them to sleep in. People even try to avoid classes that have final exams, allowing them to leave at the start of reading period. Of course, everyone balances course difficulty, topic interest, professor quality, major and minor requirements, and scheduling.
I’m lucky. I usually find many interesting courses taught by good professors, so I then choose courses based on schedule. I like to shop around at the beginning of the semester and play around with my schedule until I end up with four great courses and a weekly four-day weekend.
There’s a maximum amount of hours you can spend in a week without doing work. It’s approximately 168. Nobody ever reaches that high, but I like to maximize time for procrastination and extracurriculars.
I always feel bad for the people who have so many requirements that they overload on science courses, filling their schedule with labs and lectures until they are booked from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m..
But as the time comes for course registration, take scheduling seriously, because it can change your enjoyment with your courses and your availability for other activities.