Indecision torments during registration

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April 8, 2008

9:28 AM

Registration is a cruel mistress. It’s the most difficult process in the world — worse, I’d venture, than most immune system diseases.

p. I abhor making choices, which explains my frustration with class registration. Scheduling five entire classes requires the agility of a horse and the flexibility of a ballerina. I wish I possessed the attributes of this dancing centaur, but, alas, I do not. Often, I feel so overwhelmed by registration that I forget to eat or sleep. I spend hours at a time staring at my computer screen until my eyes get red and watery.

p. Crying and starving, the only thing that keeps me going is the possibility of concocting the perfect fall schedule. This combination of classes should interest me but should also provide ample free time. Who wants to write a paper when they could be running, watching television or, eventually, registering for spring classes?
Sometimes, just for kicks, I look into classes outside my normal interests. I like to imagine that a random class will unlock some latent genius I never knew I had.

p. Perhaps a seminar on abnormal psychology will reveal my life’s calling as a pet therapist. Maybe that class on human anatomy might make me fall in love with chopping up dead bodies. Possible future careers for me could include doctor, medical examiner or even psycho clown.

p. Personally, instead of making a decision myself, I would prefer for some outside factor to determine my life’s trajectory. I have always had difficulty making life decisions. I wish that I had an intriguing explanation for this personal failing. When people would ask me why I get so neurotic during registration, I could tell them that my parents used to lock me in a cage. When they apologized for being so forward, I would pull out a Kleenex or the closest paper towel and dab my eyes.

p. “How could you have known?” I would say between tears. “Besides, I should feel lucky I get to decide when and where I use the bathroom, let alone what classes I take.”

p. Unfortunately for me, indecision doesn’t stem from a past history of neglect and torture. I don’t even have some minor psychological ailment that I can blame. I am just nebbish; the idea of choosing the wrong class terrifies me. What if I enroll in a class that ends up ruining my already dismal grade point average while concurrently making me too busy to go out and have fun? That’s a blow to my confidence that even a carton of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream can’t mend.

p. Yet in my life, indecision blankets more than just registration. I’ve given up grocery shopping because there are too many choices. And I no longer rent movies willy-nilly; instead, I just borrow Whoopi Goldberg’s latest movie from a friend and watch that.

p. The most important decision in my life, choosing to attend the College, was made by my dental hygienist. Whenever I went in for my annual checkup, she would comment on how gorgeous the campus was. While she filled my mouth with a puffy fluoride rinse, my hygienist would tell me about the Wren Building, the Sunken Garden and the beautiful arrangement of flowers near the library.
After visiting the campus, I understood; I put my deposit in the mail the next day.

p. Yet during this high stakes month of April, I wish I never came to the ’Burg. College is just one important life decision after another. In a perfect world, my parents would have refused to send me to college. Instead they would lock me in a cage in our unfinished basement, and I would only be permitted to leave for an hour on Sundays. Initially, living in a cramped cage might be stifling, but after the first few years of constant sleep deprivation and chronic hunger, I’m sure I would get used to it. Without a decision to make, my life would be fun and fancy free, and “class registration” would be some ill-begotten fairytale word.

p. __James Damon is a Confusion Corner columnist. He is taking ballet to work on his flexibility.__

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