Our pass times have begun, and choosing our classes is almost as important as choosing which college to attend in the first place. Restrictions, prerequisites and section times — everything has to align perfectly. And even then, half of the time it doesn’t work out.
At this point, we’ve all registered at least once before, so it’s common knowledge that your first pass time on GOLD isn’t a recommendation for when you should log in to sign up for classes — it’s more of a threat. That posted time basically says, “You have from 11:15 until 11:15:30 to get all your classes, or they’re gonna be gone forever.” If you log in a minute late, your classes are gone and you’re already a mile behind everyone else. Think of it as the real-life Hunger Games, because that’s essentially what it is. If you don’t train before the start of the games, you’re already dead. So what do we do? How do we prepare ourselves for the virtual feeding frenzy? My answer is actually pretty irrelevant to the majority of you.
We all have our own song and dance for trying to pick our perfect schedules, and if you go by anyone else’s method, as the “South Park” ski instructor famously said, “You’re gonna have a bad time.” Everybody knows the stereotypical panicked student who will sacrifice health, sleep and sanity for his or her bio lecture; the late-sleeper (as opposed to the five early-risers at this school), who, only in times of panic, will resort to taking a pre-10 a.m. class; and the dedicated Thirsty Thursday participant, who will take eight classes a day Monday through Thursday if it means having no class on Friday. (“Turn it down? I think you meant TURN UP!”) Every single person at this school has a certain thing they look for during registration, and if you ask me, it’s pointless to call one person’s habit better than another. This is where my problem with ratemyprofessors.com stems from.
A few days ago I was laying out my schedule when one of my friends took a peek over my shoulder and was appalled by what she saw. Her face reminded me of the one that the Econ professors make when students ask them to push their grades up from a B+ to an A-. Apparently, I was going into the registration world blind and ignorant; I had not visited ratemyprofessors.com, a crucial step in the pre-registration process. This website offers the curious students from colleges across the nation overall ratings of just about every professor they could ever have. From “easiness” to “helpfulness” to “clarity” to “hotness,” the different ratings are all vital to keep in mind when choosing your classes. At my friend’s insistence, I looked up the professor that would be teaching the class I wanted to take and made the same face that my friend had made just minutes before. Several students had left angry emoticon-filled comments warning me not to take the class, to avoid the professor at all means, to save myself and go a different route. Then I looked up my other professors, and what had once been the perfect schedule now seemed flawed, unpromising and downright scary. But I took a breather — how do I know that these ratings even apply to me? What if the professor that the students call “evil” becomes your best friend because you just so happen to be evil too? What if the angry raters thought the class was so terrible because they just couldn’t get their shit together that quarter?
And so the problem presents itself: what is the right way to choose our classes? It’s as simple as looking at what you want to take, what you need to take and what works for you and your daily routine. Then craft your perfect schedule based off of that. Don’t worry too much if people say something is great or terrible, because outside opinions really shouldn’t be the ultimate determinant for which classes we end up choosing. Advice from our peers, blessings from upperclassmen and ratings from sites such as ratemyprofessors.com are all helpful in their own ways, so use them, but use them carefully. And the cold truth of it is that you could plan out your whole quarter perfectly, but when it comes down it, you really do need the odds to be forever in your favor to get everything you want. The last-minute registration panic does not extend the courtesy of preference; it’s more of a “So, I know I need to take bio this quarter, but that’s full and really, Anth 5 is almost a biology class” type of thing.
At the end of it all, the more we stress about making the perfect schedule with the best professors and the most important classes, the more we waste our time and energy that we need for doing the best we can this quarter, because in the famous words of Sweet Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Travis Zane is a first-year economics and accounting major.