Su Pham dragged himself out of bed before dawn, arrived at Speakman Hall by 6:30 a.m., and waited an hour and a half for his adviser’s door to open so he could register for classes. But first, he had to wait for the 74 other students who showed up even earlier to go before him.
Pham and his predecessors were part of more than 120 Fox Business School seniors who showed up unusually early on Wednesday to register for one of their two capstone classes, Business Policies.
“People have been camped out all night,” said Pham, a risk management and insurance major.
Whether to try to get a certain section or avoid a certain professor, students began showing up outside Speakman at 3 a.m. to secure their place in line. A sign-in list was posted outside by students to ensure order.
“Somebody decided to put up a sign and give numbers,” said Rupal Patel, a marketing major, who showed up at 5:30 a.m. “We’ve been pleasant so far. We’ll see at 8 o’clock.”
The Business Policies class is designed to help students make the transition from academics to the business world. It is one of two capstone classes senior business students are required to take during their second semester, meaning that it is both required for graduation and cannot be registered for through OWLNet.
“We think this is ridiculous, with Temple being the fourth most connected university [in the country],” said senior Melissa Dowling. “And we can’t register online?”
Initially, 15 sections with a capacity for 25 students each were opened. As sections fill up, the Fox School will open more, so that every student is guaranteed placement in the class.
“I think it was mob mentality that caused a lot of students who did this,” Patel said.
Most students ended up with their first or second choices for sections, Patel said.
“Everyone I talked to was able to get the sections they wanted,” senior Alyson Fisk said.
Debbie Campbell, assistant dean of the Fox School, said there was no need for students to come for registration so early, suggesting that word-of-mouth among students provoked them.
“I’ve never seen students line up this early before,” Campbell said. “We’ve had lines, but never at three in the morning or four in the morning; never outside when the doors were locked, ever.
“They probably worried more than they needed to,” Campbell said. “In the end, if they had come in at 7 a.m. or 7:30 a.m., they would have gotten exactly what they needed.”
Most students expected time conflicts with the rest of their schedules. In addition to Business Policies, students must take a marketing capstone course and complete any last requirements that are needed for graduation. If any of these are not completed, students must take another semester.
“You have to rearrange your whole schedule again to fit into one of the new ones they open up, which is pretty ridiculous,” Pham said.
Jeff Colon, a finance and real estate major, arrived at Speakman at 5 a.m. and registered for his other classes a few hours earlier.
“I got a pretty good schedule,” Colon said. “If I don’t get the section I want, I’ve got to redo my whole schedule and I might not get the classes I want. So this one class is going to [ruin] my whole schedule.”
Avoiding certain teachers, namely professor George Titus, was another motive for students to get up before dawn. Some described him as a hard grader, fearing that if they failed his class, they would have to retake it and delay their graduation.
“He does have a reputation,” Campbell said. “You’re always going to have your harder graders.” But, she added, “When looking at how specific students of his perform, they perform really well. But I think they perform really well because he pushes them to be better.”
Professor Titus said that his reputation is only a partial reality.
“I think that kind of rumor goes around,” Titus said. “I get to know every student by name and I talk to them.”
He said that students perceive him as difficult or unfair because they are used to easier classes. “I’m probably the only professor in the school who will fail students,” Titus said.
Campbell said that despite their motives for coming early, most students left Speakman happy.
“I would say 99 percent of those students got exactly what they wanted,” she said.
Like other students, Patel said that she probably could have caught a few more hours of sleep.
“I look back at it now and I laugh at myself and ask, ‘What I was I thinking?'” Patel said.
Andrew Thompson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.