March 22, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 51°F


Commentary: The nightmare before course registration

I don’t know if anyone else feels this way — but registration for the last two semesters has felt a lot like entering the grounds for “The Hunger Games.” You wake up five minutes before 7:30 a.m., prepare your laptop, you get your list of course registration numbers situated just next to Homer Connect and you wait. You wait for the race to start, one section, 15 seats or less and dozens of students gunning for it. If you get into your classes and you win at registration every time, you deserve a medal — for the other kids not getting into the course they need to graduate is not your fault. It’s Ithaca College’s fault.

I have seen both sides of the spectrum and lived in an in-between. Some people come in with enough credits from high school to register a class ahead of everyone. Others are in the Honors Program and get to register with the very first group. People like me came in with just enough credits to stagger their registration so that they get to register a group ahead of every other semester. And then there are the students who have to go with everyone else. If you are in the Roy H. Park School of Communications, you are working alongside over three hundred other students, trying to get into the same classes. One section can have as low as twenty seats for students, and you pretty much have one chance to get it right. If you don’t get into your classes, especially this early on as a sophomore, then your only option is to focus on your ICC’s and out-of-Park credits. Meaning that for an entire semester, you are doing nothing to hone your skills or prepare for your desired career. You will be a drone mindlessly learning things that genuinely don’t matter to you. It isn’t the fault of the students who manage to get into the class or the professors who don’t have control over how many sections there are. The blame lies on the college’s administration and the decline in faculty.

I understand that the college is understaffed, underfunded and in a bit of a pinch right now. My major — writing for film, television and emerging media — only had four, to begin with. Currently, we are working with three overworked professors teaching way more classes than they should be. The college made the choice to downsize the college’s faculty, but how are we supposed to graduate from the college if taking our required classes is no longer guaranteed? I decided to graduate early because I managed to come into my freshman year with extra credits. The possibility was real as long as I stuck to my three-and-a-half-year plan. However, I have begun to realize that no matter how hard I work, how well I do in my classes or how far ahead I plan, it seems that the college keeps working against me. The budget cuts, professor shortage and lack of caring about education at this school will be my biggest pitfall here. If I can’t get into the classes I need, the money-hungry college that it is will force me to pay nearly an additional 30k. I may not have to pay just to see if they will offer the classes they promised me. The college will increase our tuition and take our money, yet denies us the classes we are supposedly paying for. It convinces us to stay, and we keep thinking it will be better next semester. 

Since my freshman class has started here, the college has been going down a rabbit hole of trying to save itself from its financial crisis. I am sick of worrying if I will graduate on time at this school where the only thing standing in my way is the administration’s mismanagement. We need more professors, we need more sections we need a better system.