Saturday, March 31, 2012

Backpacking and Registration Fun!

Inspired by a comparison I made to a comment on another blog I have decided to go into the gaming and all of the fun that The University of Michigan creates for us when it is time to backpack and register for our courses each semester!!

Well for starters, I am an extremely organized and by-the-schedule type of person which means this process drives me insane. Course guides for each semester come out during midterms so half of me only wants to look up my potential classes for the next semester, while the other half is holding me back from creating 8 different mock schedules. THEN the most fun part comes, you get your registration date, oh the competition has not even begun at this point. You ask around your group of friends who has what date trying to see where you fall, praying that you're at least 30 minutes before the person you ask in case you want the same classes or god forbid have the same major. The silent and unspoken sizing up and comparing between friends over how many credits you came into school with and how many AP classes someone else took. Then there's always that thought why do these students register before me when clearly I've taken harder classes, even if I took less credits. Oh the competition this all creates is just vicious and all of this right smack in the middle of midterms and mid semester projects.

Finally the kiss of death for anyone with anxiety like me ... those 20 minutes before you actually register. You slowly watch those hopeful green circles turn to yellow triangles and then deadly blue squares. You start to realize that your hopes of not starting class before 1pm are gone and that you will have that early morning Wednesday class and possibly even classes on Friday MORNING.
 5 minutes left until you register and you call your parents, older sibling, or older friend on the verge of tears that now because of this you won't graduate on time or you're going to have to take extra classes during "football season" aka Fall semester.  All of this during the time period when you're supposed to be focusing on this semester and studying for finals. What a game this is, looking forward to next semester, trying to "beat out" other people for classes, while still trying to have some sense of success on your finals in the semester you're currently in. By the time you finally register you then have to email at least 5 different professors the same generic email about how you're "so excited" for this class or how "you've only heard amazing things, and this class is a MUST TAKE." You and your hopefully future professor both know that nothing you really say in this email is true but you're hoping that you taking time out of your oh so busy day (aka you finally decided to get out of bed and take your laptop out of your backpack), will increase your chances of that ever wanted "override" email.

I'm sure that I'm not alone on this thought process, but anyone who thinks this emotional roller-coaster is fun I honestly respect you!


  1. I found this post hilarious because it is so true. The challenge of finding your perfect semester schedule is quite the competition. No one wants Friday morning classes, or even classes Fridays at all. For me the most difficult task was finding the right times for my classes. It seems as though the further I get into my major the later the classes are. Who honestly wants to go to class on a Thursday night until 8 pm?

  2. I agree with this post as well, the most frustrating part for me is when I feel like I'm almost done with backpacking my classes until I realise that the one or two classes that I need to take next semester only have one lecture times. Not to mention at the worst possible time that messes up my entire schedule that took forever to figure out in the first place. The only thing that makes me feel better, is that for most students, even ones not at Michigan have this problem. A school back home where a lot of my high school friends go are constantly complaining about registration because they don't even have times as to when they are allowed to register. When the time comes, registering is an open call to all students, which then results in the websites being shut down for a few hours because so many people are on the server. It's funny how registering for classes can be more stressful than the actual class.

  3. I was able to completely sympathize with your post because registration is actually my biggest stress. Ever since high school, the process of obtaining a seat in a course for the next semester has cause me great anxiety. First of all, I agree with the whole competition aspect of this post. Friends turn into competitors for every seat in a course. And inevitably, at a school this size, they are not your competition. Yet, hearing a friend wants to enroll in the same course is the worst, especially given the different registration times. Second, there are so many courses offered! Now, many would argue this to be a good thing. I take the contrary. I'd so much rather someone say to me "Lucy, you have an choice to take 3 of these 7 courses, which sound like the best?" That is much more pleasant. Rather you are forced to sift through hundreds of courses that don't interest you, have over lapping times, mix reviewed professors and decide which 4 you'd like to enroll in. Third, some people are crazy. Though I may be super late - I do not start backpacking until 3 days before my registration date, giving me a realistic view at the availability of seats in the course. Others begin the second backpacking opens, creating the fallacy that if you backpacked earlier - you got the course! Just not true! I loved this post Jordan, I'm glad other people relate to my registration anxieties!

  4. I'm glad to get a confirmation that all the messages I get about the student having heard "awesome things about this course and can I please please please get an override" are BS. :) Seriously, though, I completely sympathize with the stress you feel about this. The small good news is that compared, say, to the University of California system, Michigan still works well enough that we can guarantee students can graduate in four years. That means that all of you are eventually able to get into courses you'll at least need, even if they are not your favorites.

    And we're not Ohio State. My wife taught a Monday 7:30 a.m. version of freshman comp there once. Fun? Definitely not, for anybody!

  5. Similar to Lucy's technique, I also do not bother to backpack courses until it is a few days before my registration date. I can still remember every one of my past registration dates and how it went miserably because I ended up not getting something I needed. But can you guys imagine what it would have been like back before it was a computerized system. I was watching an episode of Boy Meets World the other day, and the registration day at Cory's school was filled with tables and booths for different departments where students would browse around and sign their name on if they found the class to be interesting. I looked like a pre-festifall at our school. But now that the technology is there, we can all agree that the system has gotten better. I even discovered this tool that really helps me select all my classes and gives the how many possible schedules I can have. I now use this tool every time I register and it is extremely helpful because it allows me to choose the one that gives me the most flexibility.

    Some friends at other schools tell me that their registration system is not based on credits. Some schools just have one open registration date that everyone has to register on. At least when we are seniors we will have an easier time getting the courses we want since our system is based on seniority!

  6. I definitely could not agree more with what you have you say about this. I think that the way registration is done here is very hectic and only leads people to be stressed about their schedules. Of course, at the same time, is there any way to make registration perfect? Just like any other aspects of going to a very large public school with thousands of students interested in taking the same courses, there is no one perfect solution that will make everyone happy. However, it is interesting to think about. This sort of reminds me of our Minor Quest 4. In this quest, we are supposed to restructure the university in a way to make things "better". I definitely think that registration and class size would be an area to tackle in this report. Maybe if some research was done looking at prior classes and how many people were wait listed etc. would affect what was being offered next semester...or maybe polls and questionnaires could be sent to students asking which courses they would like to be offered and during what semesters. Whatever should be done I definitely think that this area of Michigan should be addressed in the "Third Century Initiative". This would definitely only help students relieve their stress during times of registration and allow people to take the classes that they really want or even need to take while an undergrad at the University of Michigan. Great post Jordan I think this was a very interesting topic to touch on.
    -Emma Kessler

  7. This post is so funny!...and true! Backpacking has become such a game. We maneuver our schedules around the classes we "have to take" and then fill them in with easy ones, ones we heard were good, and then just ones that HAPPEN to fit in. It becomes such a game because as you the thirty minutes before your registration date you could be blocked out of all those classes, have 15 minutes to make a whole new schedule for yourself...and the game continues! Seriously amazing post because this is something all of us and U of M students do each semester and don't even realize how caught up in the whole game aspect we really are!
    -Claudia Scheinman

  8. I completely agree with everything! I even just posted about something like this. It is so true, people are always scrambling at the very end to get those last few classes. I think something needs to be done about this. I think that only a certain amount of seats per section should be opened a day. This way, people with later registration dates just because they are behind someone by only one class has an equal opportunity to take the desired class at a reasonable time. I know this is what happens for incoming freshmen during orientation. Why can't Michigan extend this courtesy to every student? The problem with getting closed out of classes is that it throws off your whole time table of class scheduling. Classes you thought you'd take the winter semester now get pushed back to the following year and so on. Why make us sweat and stress when we can do that in so many other aspects of our lives. Does everything in life really have to be a competition?