A stress-free way to schedule classes

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October 19, 2010

12:08 AM

As the first week of November looms near, students begin the inevitable, meticulous planning of schedules. As a freshman last year, I learned several valuable lessons in the battle to achieve the perfect class schedule. As I head into my second semester as a social sophomore, I face a new challenge: my junior credit status. Although it appeared as though scheduling would get easier after freshman year, I believe most students still find it stressful regardless.

Everyone who has registered for classes at the College of William and Mary is sure to recall those anxious minutes counting down to the beginning of registration. Whether it’s that last GER a senior desperately needs, a really important class for a major, or simply a class you know you can’t live without (it’s ok, we’re all Twamps when it comes to scheduling), class registration can bring out the worst in people. I am a perfect example of someone overreacts and agonizes over schedules. Going into for spring 2010 (registration), I had my entire prospective schedule planned down to the last credit hour. I somehow convinced myself I would get exactly what I wanted, with the right professor and the right time slot. First lesson learned: everyone else on this campus thinks the same thing. After the brief chaos of my initial registration, I was very frustrated that I didn’t get my ideal schedule. However, I resolved to put it out of my mind until January.

In January, I learned a second lesson: the add/drop period is often the cure to all scheduling woes. In some magical way, it seems to really settle many people’s schedules, as one student drops a class that another student needs. During add/drop, I was able to get into an Intro to Accounting class, which was conveniently, the last requirement I needed to apply to the Mason School of Business. As a result of this, I could apply early and start the program in fall 2010. Simultaneously, I felt more confident having narrowed down my major to one of four business majors. And I also realized, although not for the first time, that I had definitely worried too much.

Still, the registration system has its flaws. Registration times are determined by social class, not by academic standing. Because I came in with Advanced Placement credits and took heavy course loads my freshman year, I was fortunate enough to achieve junior credit standing, which allowed me to enter the Mason School of Business early. I’m very happy about this, but I do find it unfair that I still must register as a sophomore. I have completed the academic requirements to become a junior, and most of my business classmates are juniors. However, when we registered for this semester, and as I go into registration for spring 2011, they all registered and will register before me. Now, I constantly refer myself back to my second lesson — the importance of add/drop. However, it is very frustrating that I must choose from what is left over by students who are my equals academically.

In the end, registration inevitably causes a lot of grief throughout campus. My
advice is simply to keep things in perspective, not to freak out, and to remember add/drop. And who knows — that random class you scheduled without planning to could end up leading you to your major, a favorite professor, or even a new boyfriend or girlfriend.

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