As Flies to Wanton Boys

Written by Dietrich Balsbaugh

Having recently gone through another week of class registration, our managing editor began telling the story of when she was in college and the registration process was essentially a collegiate Black Friday sale event. She described how students would line up outside the registrar’s office with paper forms to register for each class. Once the office opened, students would file in one by one, and information would travel down the line concerning which classes had filled up already. If you weren’t near the front, sometimes you would have to adjust your papers on the fly if a class had filled up before you made it to the office. It was a different time.

Nowadays at Hillsdale College we have WebAdvisor, a slightly less inefficient but equally chaotic form of class registration. When registration week rolls around, students scramble to figure out which classes they want to take and how to manage their schedules in the upcoming semester. Both students and professors know how crazy the week can be—the English department may or may not pour libations—so everyone works together to figure out the best way to get students into the classes they want. Among the students there are several tricks and tips to make registration week that much easier. As an incoming student, I personally benefited greatly from these short little strategies.

Strategy 1: Talk to Older Students

Before the actual registration day, this may be the best strategy overall. Most students take advantage of the rich and tightly knit student body to ask around and figure out which classes are going to fill, which ones are going to be hard to get into, and so on. Seniors, who register first in the week, usually have a good perspective on which classes to shoot for as a younger student. Further, talking to your friends and fellow scholars can often produce classes where the dynamic is rich and fruitful simply because of a good nucleus of students in the class.

Strategy 2: Location, Location, Location

Registration starts at 7:00 a.m., which, for most college students, is quite early. But what better way to make the early morning more cheerful than registering with your friends? Rally a group of people together and pick a place with wi-fi to settle in with some coffee and face the coming hour.

For example, my freshman year a few of us decided to brave the early morning and go to the nearby McDonald’s to register. We enjoyed a nice morning with breakfast and coffee, and prepped our computers to register at 7:00 a.m. Now it is a tradition.

Strategy 3: Relax

Sometimes 7:00 a.m. rolls around and things just don’t quite work out, but this is never reason to fear. One of the great things about Hillsdale is that there is rarely a bad class to be in. The professors are kind, and the classes are engaging if you choose to throw your weight into them. My first time registering online I ended up in a completely different Great Books class than intended, but it turned out to be one of my favorite classes I have taken. So even if the WebAdvisor gods do not smile on your registration, more often than not they land you in a pretty good spot.

Registration season can be hectic and stressful, but through the community and caring network of students at Hillsdale, we are able to ease the pressure off of one another, while enjoying a nice morning together as a plus. We don’t stand in a long line outside anymore, but that hasn’t stopped us from loving each other’s company in the midst of college life.

Dietrich BalsbaughDietrich Balsbaugh, ’20, studies English and mathematics. He loves dancing of any kind and playing in any sort of water, particularly if it involves skipping rocks. If you see him on campus, he’s usually talking about fractals, writing, or tossing a frisbee. He doesn’t mind, so be sure to stop and ask him what he’s thinking about.

Published in July 2019