Banner may be unavailable, but college life goes on nonetheless

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November 27, 2017

9:17 PM

3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, and …

Banner unavailable.

Registration is, perhaps, one of the worst times for Banner to crash. The moment Banner crashes, really, so does your heart. As a freshman, my first thought was, “My life is ending; I will not graduate.” The screams of anguish could be heard in the halls of the Botetourt Complex at the ungodly hour of 7 a.m.

The morning casts a dim shadow over the rest of the day. Freshmen seem to haunt the College of William and Mary rather than live in it, convinced the number of years to graduate will take much, much longer than anticipated. It strikes a fear in the hearts of freshmen comparable to late-night exam studying.

Registration is arguably the scariest time for a freshman, but it is less so as the years go on. In the beginning of the school year, as freshman were registering, everyone from OAs to RAs to faculty and staff helped us feel comfortable in the registration process. These same people stayed after to comfort students who did not get their desired classes. Although the process was scary, the safety net underneath made it more bearable.

When we registered for our second semester classes, the safety net was gone but the tightrope that is registration still remained. There was little reminder to set up a meeting with our pre-major advisers, and no kind OAs to help wake us up in the morning or to comfort us when the classes we wanted filled up.

This forced a maturity over the freshman class. Students put several alarms on their phones to be up on time, and they vented to one another about closed classes and the constant crashing of Banner. The same sense of dread resulting from seeing Banner crash or from not getting into classes was absent now for most students. Of course, some students didn’t rise to the challenge and slept through several alarms or panicked over classes that they could not take. Then, friends and family were there as their safety net rather than OAs.

It seems like the freshmen needed a reminder that they were going to make it. There is no greater reminder to us than the upperclassmen that went through the same process and are (for the most part) still alive.
When I spoke to upperclassmen about registering, the laissez-faire attitude tipped me off to the fact that registration is not as earth shattering as it was back in September. Banner always crashes, add/drop and emailing professors are lifesavers for getting into classes and friends are a great resource if you want to vent about the process.

This did not mean that getting into your eighth-choice class was easy to swallow. However, knowing that during add/drop you can get the second or third choice helped alleviate some of the stress. I noticed that upperclassmen still complained, still felt upset, still vented, but not with the same fear that seemed to stop the hearts of all freshmen. Eventually, they knew that they were going to take the full amount of credits with the necessary classes. They knew they were going to graduate with the major that they wanted.

This helped alleviate my fear and made registering much more tolerable. Of course, Banner could benefit from some changes to fix its problems, but I could still manage. And to all my fellow freshmen, just remember, when you see those dreadful words, “Banner unavailable,” it is not actually the end of the world.

Email Ifeoma Ayika at [email protected]

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