Course selection is rite of passage

By Jessica Isgro

Contributing Writer

I really wish I could complain about course selection. I wish this more and more each time I log onto myBucknell and see my desired courses mocking me. First 20 seats remaining, then 15, seven, three, one. Next, the dreaded word appears: closed. The waitlist reads two, and all hope drains swiftly from my head and my heart as I refer to my yellow course selection organization sheet. It’s time to approach my next choice.

There are many decided pros to this process. First is seniority. By the time I am a senior, I know I will feel as if I have earned priority in registration. Another pro is the fact that upperclassmen, having already declared their majors, are studying on a much more focused academic track, for which they need to take specific courses that perhaps other students would not even consider. Another is that it gives underclassmen, first-years especially, a large amount of time and reflection to adjust to the process of browsing and choosing courses.

This is not to say that cons do not exist. This is especially evident for individuals intending to double major, double minor or a combination of the two. Perhaps the only way their combination of academic pursuits will work is if they take a certain class during a certain semester. And as every registration day passes, the possibility of this occurring becomes slimmer and slimmer.

Personally, this is something I fear. I’m a music education major and hope to complete a minor in creative writing. I’m faced with not only the University requirements, but also the Pennsylvania state education requirements, and I know my somewhat lofty aspirations require a great deal of planning. But as days pass and my ideal schedule seems more and more unrealistic, I silently—internally—curse the process.

But is there really a better way to go about this? I could suggest that certain students with special circumstances could register early, but how would one define such circumstances? The list of students allowed to register early would grow, and eventually overtake the course registration process until they too needed to be subdivided once more. I could suggest that everyone register at once, but the chaos this would cause would be insurmountable. No amount of creative thought could possibly render a perfect process.

Perhaps we should go back, way back, to when our parents registered for courses. For them, it was first in line, first to choose. Though a supreme waste of time, this method held the individual accountable for receiving (or not receiving) his or her desired course. Those students who cared enough to show up early received a coveted position at the beginning of the line, while the sloths garnered their respective spots in the deep abyss. Of course, some peoples’ schedules may not allow them to line up as early as they please.

Clearly, benefits and drawbacks are inherent in every means of course registration. Alas, I have decided to resign myself to the idea that what comes around goes around. Someday I will be able to choose quickly and easily, without stress and worry. In the meantime, I choose to view this as a collegiate right of passage.

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