Last week, I met with my academic adviser, in advance of the dreaded registration days. We talked for a long time about scary things like the future, academic forethought, and organic chemistry. Getting ready for registration, I added about 20 classes to my course list, and but still had to narrow it down to five. It’s a testament to Whitman’s academic programs that so many cool classes are available for registration, but it makes choosing only a few insanely difficult. When you think about it, it’s a nice problem to have.
By the end of our meeting, my adviser and I figured out 5 courses that I would hopefully take. The courses were a happy medium of interesting, challenging, and required for my major and distribution credits.
I loaded the courses into a wish list on the MyWhitman portal, and even had a set of redundant classes for each time slot, to make sure I would have a good course load even if I didn’t get into my top picks.
As it turns out, the redundancies were handy. In the days before my registration, as older students filled in their schedules, some of the classes I wanted to take filled up completely. Getting locked out of my top picks was a bummer, but it really didn’t make too much of a difference in the long run. With my back-up classes, I knew that I could still design a semester for myself that was enjoyable, and had all the credits I needed.
When the time came for my registration slot, I wasn’t stressed at all. I had picked out classes and even had contingency plans, so why should I have been?
My registration time was 4:30 in the afternoon. By 4:25, I had all my courses loaded into the web calendar, and all I had to do when the clock changed to 4:30 was click the ‘apply changes’ button.
That was it. Simple as that. I had a perfectly good schedule outlined for myself already, and plenty of time to think about rearranging my schedule before next semester.
I sincerely hope that nobody gets to this point, and decides to settle for a schedule that’s ‘good enough.’ It might take a little bit of extra work, but it is not difficult at all to craft an awesome schedule for yourself at Whitman with few compromises.
I started out by sending a few emails (which you can even do before registration) to professors of classes I wanted to take, but filled up too quickly. From everything I heard from other students at Whitman, and my own experience first semester, most of the professors at Whitman are totally willing to try and accommodate any academic necessities and desires you might bring to the table. If a class is filled up, but you absolutely need to take it, they’ll do everything they can to make space, or figure out a plan B that works for you just as well.
In the days following, I went to the office hours of those same professors to talk about being consented into their classes. I highly recommend this. Nothing shows your commitment and interest to a professor than actively seeking them out and going to start a conversation. It sounds scary, but I haven’t met a professor at Whitman yet who wasn’t super helpful. Plus, meeting a professor in person 1-on-1 goes a long way towards building a relationship, which could be a good start if you wind up taking their class next semester!
At this point, I’m still not sure exactly how my schedule is going to work out next semester. One or two time slots are locked in, and all my classes are filled, but some aren’t set in stone. Come January, I’m sure I’ll reshuffle a thing or two, but if nothing else my interactions with the people here over the last week, from my adviser, to fellow students, to prospective professors have assured me that everything will work itself out in the end.