After seven semesters of registering for classes, Maria Zankey has the process down to a science.
When it comes to using a competent, functional class registration system, we Temple students are strangers.
OwlNet times out at a rate quicker than the male Owls get scratched off on a March Madness bracket, and when you are able to actually navigate through the archaic mess of HTML, choosing the right classes that will minimize the number of tuition payments you make during your time on North Broad Street is a whole other conundrum in itself.
I’ve fought the uphill battle a total of seven times at this point in my undergraduate career, and while still somewhat mystified, I’ve found some method to the class scheduling madness.
And, preferably, with a reliable Internet connection at a stable location. I learned this the hard way.
During my first on-campus scheduling go-around, I sat determined in my 1940 residence hall nook to register for each and every one of my desired courses. Wrapped in my favorite robe with a freshly popped Snapple in hand, I stared at the OwlNet home page, refreshing it until I would finally be eligible for priority registration.
As the clock struck midnight, the fire alarm went off.
I shimmied into the closest pair of sweatpants I could grab and sprinted out of the building, down Liacouras Walk and up the TECH Center steps by 12:15 a.m. Hair sopping wet, I only got to schedule two of the classes I wanted that night.
In order to spare all of Main Campus, I decided to register for classes the next time at a friend’s house. I cooked the two of us up some of my famous pepper stir-fry, and after a few tumblers full of Franzia, it was midnight again.
My giggly self decided it would be hilarious to schedule my classes in the most random manner throughout the day. Eight a.m.? Check. Three-hour night class? Check. Leaving a four-hour gap between each class? Double check.
This decision was worse than scheduling classes in the nude. After realizing what I had done the next day, I had to drop all my classes and completely start from scratch. This time around, I was forced to take all Gen-Eds since all of the classes I wanted to take were completely full.
At this point in my sorry class registration career, I decided it was time to see a professional: a faculty adviser. I actually picked up the phone, scheduled an appointment, and showed up 15 minutes early, list of potential classes in hand.
“I want to learn how to take photos,” I told the adviser. “Do you think I should take a class in the photography or photojournalism department?”
“I’m not sure,” he replied. “Have you looked at their Web sites?”
If I had known the crystal ball of advising could be as easily rubbed at home in my pajamas as it was by a faculty adviser, I would have never ridden my bike from my South Philly home to stare at a computer screen.
That was the semester my registration luck changed.
After clicking through temple.edu, I discovered the Undergraduate Bulletin. Bookmark it on your browser, and when in doubt, consult it. It maps out all required classes for each major’s curriculum and allows you to easily browse through course descriptions in every department.
Once mastered, registering for classes is not as scary as it seems. And regardless, it will never be as scary as seeing me sprint down Montgomery Avenue in a robe.
Maria Zankey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.