The summer before my freshman year, as my friends from high school and I began to prepare for college, I was left feeling confused by the differences in our preparations for college. Most of my other friends attended orientation for their respective schools and registered for classes in June and July. Not only was I waiting to attend my orientation at the College of William and Mary at the end of the summer, but I was also going to be registering for my classes just a few days before classes started.
When people asked me what my fall schedule was going to be, I didn’t know how to answer them. I spent the summer before my freshman year wishing that the College had its orientation earlier in the summer, like many other colleges do, and like my peers from high school did. However, once orientation had begun, I was so grateful that rather than leaving right after getting to know everybody, I could stay and start school with my new friends right away. And even though registering for classes so late is certainly stress-inducing, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
First and foremost, the later time of registration gave me time to be prepared and pick classes from a knowledgeable standpoint. During orientation, I got to talk with a knowledgeable professor as my pre-major advisor, as well as my Orientation Aides and fellow students. I learned what classes other students with similar interests wanted to take, or recommended taking, as well as tips on how to make a reasonable schedule from my OAs.
Secondly, as stressful as Banner crashing is, it is much less so when you are surrounded by people who are having the same problem as you. Being able to register with my hall and OAs meant that I was able to have immediate advice on what to do when I had issues with registration, or when a class was full. (Not to mention, my OAs were sweet enough to bring us donuts!) When I registered for classes in the fall, I was lucky enough to get a schedule that I liked. Had I been registering early in the summer, I most likely would have registered for a much different schedule that I wouldn’t have liked and that wouldn’t have been as helpful. Talking to my pre-major advisor about my schedule was helpful because it allowed me to discover what classes (such as micro-economics) were important prerequisites to take freshman year.
Of course, like anything, the later registration isn’t a perfect system. Orientation is definitely a very stressful time, and not knowing your classes adds to the stress. All things considered, I think that both the later than usual orientation and class registration was, at least for me, worth the worry I felt during the summer about not knowing my classes and was the best way that I could have started my college career.
Email Anna Boustany at email@example.com.