Hannah Croft is a journalism freshman and Mustang Daily freshman columnist.
Freshman year of high school was undoubtedly at the heart of my awkward years. I stumbled down stairs, over words and shuddered at the thought of confronting the boy who I less-than-discreetly admired in my history class. However, come that February, I somehow mustered up the courage to ask said charming boy to the turnabout dance. I was quickly turned down, my dreams dashed and I was slapped across the face with an emotion I would soon recognize as rejection.
Since then, I’ve avoided sticking my neck out . . . it wasn’t worth the risk. Anything to avoid future reality checks and sucker punches to the ego.
But that all changed late in fall quarter, when I realized that in order to take a full course load, I had to crash classes. I had to put myself in a position to be what I feared most — rejected.
And I was. Low registration priority put me not only on waitlists but in the last position of those waitlists. Awesome, I sighed as I was turned away from two economics classes Monday morning and three more on Tuesday. Tough luck, one professor told me.
I’m not saying I have a crush on econ or anything, but I am saying that being rejected by a professor whose class you need, and I mean really need, stings just as bad as being turned down to a silly school dance.
I’m crashing random econ classes because there was no shot in hell I was getting into any of my major courses. The department doesn’t have the resources to offer more than one Web writing course, and it was full by the second block of registration. (So how, I ask you, are the 50 journalism freshmen supposed to get the class if it’s capped at 18?)
I guess you could say my first week back was a rude awakening to the fact that not every professor, department or adviser gives two shakes about my academic career.
And what’s disappointing is the fact that I’m certainly not alone in this debacle. When professors ask “Who’s trying to add this class?” I’m one of 15 who raise their hands high. When I come back to my residence hall, I’m among hundreds of freshmen on the verge of tears because they can’t get into public speaking or chemistry or whatever, and now they don’t know what to do.
To upperclassmen, I realize this is a fact of life; it’s something they are accustomed to. But this is the first quarter we freshmen were solely responsible for our registration; the first quarter where we checked PASS day after day, noticing the seats in even the biggest lecture halls dwindling. At least for me, registering was more stressful than finals week.
Registration reform could do Cal Poly students a world of good, especially in a system where even general education classes have a handful of prerequisites. Watching my friends have to crash seven classes in a day, and hearing over and over again that there is no room despite the seven empty seats, I don’t understand how this registration works in anyone’s favor.
It’s even worse for kids who get financial aid. A friend of mine had a hold on her account, preventing her from registering, when the real problem was the fact that her financial aid hadn’t come through yet. So the university will take care of her schooling, but not in time to register for class. When we got back last Sunday, she was enrolled in zero units and was in class from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. in hopes of crashing the classes she needed. I don’t understand how this has gone unchanged for so long. Why has no one spoken up?
But I know nothing’s changing any time soon. So for now, I’ll enroll in random classes until I graduate with a hodgepodge of credits that add up to a journalism degree. So long as Columbia accepts me, I’ll be good. And so long as one of these days I can weasel my way into copy editing.