It’s that time of year again, when NMU students spend hours in front of their computers, meticulously drawing up plans for their courses next semester. Students who still have paper bulletins can be found with highlighters and confused looks on their faces as they set up elaborate spread sheets and back-up plans for their back-up plans.
And each time, they will throw all those carefully laid plans out the window and make a new schedule at the last minute.
Every semester, a PDF document is made available to students so they can set up their classes before their registration deadline. The problem is that this document is susceptible to change, as are the times or even availability of any course offered at this university.
This semester, I had planned on taking a course that magically disappeared two days after I made my schedule, and another course I was required to take to graduate randomly changed from a two-hour, Monday and Wednesday class, to a two-hour class on Tuesday, so I had to rearrange my schedule to make room for it.
Each department is given at least two months to form their semester schedules. There is no reason for some courses to be offered, then withdrawn only days later. And while the process has become a lot simpler over the years (we’ve come a long way from waiting in line at the Bullpen in Hedgcock, dropping cards in shoeboxes) it is still far from perfect.
It’s not as though setting up a schedule is something new for each department. I know it isn’t easy figuring out times and professors for every course, but two months should be plenty of time to put that together. They have to do it every semester. They can’t actually be surprised twice a year.
Some students even have to stay at Northern for an extra semester because certain pre-requisites are not offered every semester. Though pre-reqs are certainly needed to ensure that students aren’t taking courses above their knowledge level, they shouldn’t be hard classes to enroll in.
If I have to take one class that is a pre-req to several of the classes I’m required to take for my major, I’d be pretty upset if it wasn’t offered and I was stuck in school, paying tuition for an extra semester. Any class that is a pre-req for more than two other classes should be offered every semester, without fail.
And for those people who would say that if you plan it right, you can get out of here in four years, I’d agree with them, if they are talking about people who enroll with a major that they stick with for all four of those years. Most people change their majors at least once while in college, and that’s still likely below average.
I’m glad that I’ve finally registered for the last time. I’ll no longer have to deal with waiting around for classes to open up, or missing out on courses that I would love to take, but can’t because there are time conflicts with other courses I have to take.
I’ll no longer have to make plans and back-up plans, or worry about credit limits or liberal studies. Those days are over and I won’t miss them at all.