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It’s that time of year again: planning your courses for next semester

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With registration season almost upon us, it’s time to talk choosing classes.

The struggle with registration is one we’re all familiar with: mourning how late your registration date is, constantly checking your spot on the waiting list for that class you really wanted to get into, resigning yourself to a semester full of back-up classes you didn’t actually want to take.

I’m sure there are better and more efficient ways to register for classes, but as a person with a tendency to be thorough to the point of redundancy, I always start by making a list of every available class I could possibly want or need to take, and attempting to narrow it down into a workable schedule from there. Usually, the first to go are those 8:30 a.m. ones, if I bothered to include them in the first place, because who am I kidding — I have never been and never will be a morning person. Next on the chopping block: Friday classes. There’s nothing like starting your weekend on a Thursday night, knowing a bunch of your friends will be dragging themselves to Friday morning classes while you sleep in. Sweet, sweet schadenfreude.

Once I have my list narrowed down to class times I’m actually willing to attend without three cups of coffee and an endless stream of complaining, I open up the most sacred of all websites: RateMyProf. I’ve had people try to warn me off of RateMyProf because of how polarizing the reviews are, but how else are you supposed to know what to expect from a professor? Nothing is quite as upsetting as going into a class blind and then looking at the reviews later and realizing just how right they were, and the stress you could have avoided by taking their advice. And yeah, some of RateMyProf’s reviews are written by upset students frustrated with their grades, taking it out on a professor who didn’t do anything wrong. Those ones are pretty easy to weed out. Syllabuses and introductions just don’t tell you what to expect from a professor the way RateMyProf does. And besides, the reviews are funny. I have one review memorized word-for-word because it was so accurate and so hilariously-worded. My mom spent all of my freshman year going “Is that the man-child?” anytime I mentioned one of my professors because she thought this one review was ridiculously funny.

Every semester, I try to balance out the dreaded required classes with at least one class I’m really excited to take. If you cram in a semester of only classes you’re not going to enjoy, it’s going to be a rough four months and your grades will probably suffer due to abject misery. Plus, if there’s one class every semester you don’t like, you can make it your lowest priority when doing homework without feeling too bad about it, and put more energy into the classes you do like.

Am I well-prepared enough to book off my registration time from work? You might think so, from how extra I am about literally every other stage of the process, but no. Which means that usually, I end up rolling into work carrying around a list of the classes I want, and spend my shift frantically watching the clock tick down to my registration time, praying no customers come in while I’m trying to get into my courses. Don’t be like me — try to move things around so you can register in peace.

Image: Cory Jensen/The Cascade

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