Before I attended my orientation session in June, I spent days handcrafting the perfect schedule. Since I had a brother who recently graduated from Ithaca, I was able to expertly navigate Homerconnect and search for my ideal classes, teachers, and times. When I brought this schedule to orientation, I was shocked to see I was pre-registered for a multitude of classes and ultimately was not able to use my finely-crafted work of art. As I continued to learn more about the scheduling process, I became frustrated at the theme system, and the fact that I would be forced to take classes I was not interested in in order to graduate. Putting this behind me, I entered my freshman year with a schedule I liked, all the while knowing the time for registration would come again in the fall.
As I entered November, I was petrified at the prospect of registering for spring semester classes. I heard tales from my upperclassman friends regarding filled time slots, denied override requests, and twelve credit semesters. Though I worked hard to craft several ideal schedules, I knew I would not be able to use them. First on my list of classes to register for was Personal Health. Fulfilling both my natural science and social science requirement, I believed it would be ideal to get this course out of the way. However, I soon saw that this class filled up on the first day of registration. Second, I wanted to take advertising. Because of the credits I brought into Ithaca, I technically have sophomore level standing and was excited to take higher level classes. Once again, however, Advertising filled up on the second day of registration. As every time slot passed, my desired classes disappeared—as did the hope of getting the schedule I painstakingly constructed. When it came time for my registration time (11:50 on Friday the 13th), I left class early, set up my computer, and waited for the process to begin. Miraculously, I got into the majority of classes I wanted to take, though not at ideal time slots. I count myself lucky—I know some people who are currently registered for nine credits waiting on about seven override requests. While I did get into many classes, I am still concerned about future registrations. Because I want to attend both the London and Los Angeles program while also having a minor, I do not have much wiggle room if things don’t go my way with registration. Operating off a tight schedule, there are certain classes I need to take at certain times in order to travel to these destinations. Reflecting upon this, I realize I would be fine if not for the theme system. I can’t help wondering why the process—predominately the theme system—is necessary.
Academically, college is supposed to be about pursuing the interests you know you have and providing the opportunity to explore and discover new ones. Personally, I am interested in marketing, advertising, art direction, public relations, television, movies, and media. The things I am not interested in include insects and people, personal health, cultural anthropology, and biology—all classes I have to choose among to fulfill my theme requirements. The theme and perspective system pigeon-holes students into spending large quantities of money on classes they do not wish to take and prohibits us from intellectually exploring new fields. Additionally, since so many students need to fulfill these requirements, time slots fill up within seconds as Ithaca does not offer enough classes to accommodate students. This becomes extremely detrimental to students who have large course requirements for their major(s) and minor(s). Personally, I believe Ithaca should work to better assist students and improve upon the theme and perspective system. While it is important that students be exposed to a variety of classes and subjects in order to expand their knowledge, it should not interfere with their true purpose of attending college—gaining the skills necessary to succeed in a field which they are passionate about.