As winter quarter comes to a close, the last thing anyone wants to do is deal with the stress and frustration that we’ve come to know as registration. With spring break just around the corner, we should be anxiously anticipating sunny days and warm weather. Instead, many of us are sulking over the fact that we didn’t get into the classes we wanted.
Let’s be honest: the process of signing up for classes has never been a pleasurable experience. It’s been nothing but pressure and competition. Registering for classes should make us feel like there is something to look forward to; instead, it’s been something to dread.
Registering for classes is like rushing into a crowded room where seats are scarce. This past quarter, some friends confided in me that they weren’t allowed to register for the classes they wanted due to time restraints. Because registration periods are different depending on your class standing, my friend (a freshman this year) was disappointed that he wasn’t able to take the class he wanted this spring. But the reason he didn’t get into the class he wanted wasn’t because a bunch of seniors had snagged his spot, it was because priority was given to his fellow freshmen based on the last digits of their student numbers. Even though they’re both freshmen, they got to register a day earlier than he did because they had the numbers 5,6,7,8,9 as the last digits in their student number.
According to the office of the registrar, policies and procedures regarding registration are decided by UW Seattle. The reason behind letting some students register ahead of others is because splitting up the days prevents the system from crashing.
However, I believe that we need to find a way to change this policy. Why can’t every freshman register for classes on the same day? Why can’t every sophomore register for classes on the same day? Why can’t every junior register for classes on the same day? It’s like we’re sharing the same lunch hour, and yet, some people are unfairly permitted to cut the lunch line.
Perhaps most unjust, certain classes have departmental restrictions placed on them. For example, some of my friends and I wanted to take journalism writing because we wanted to expand upon our writing skills. Unfortunately, we were prohibited from doing so because that class is reserved exclusively for communications majors.
In other words, if communication isn’t your major, you shouldn’t be allowed to learn how to write an opinion piece, write a news story, or write transcripts for television broadcasts. This is the message that the university is sending to students.
Some would argue that journalism classes should only be accessible to communication majors because this is a class specifically for people who plan on becoming reporters, opinion columnists, or correspondents. But what about those of us who have passions outside of our major? What about the business major who wants to write news stories about the financial market? Or the environmental science major who wants to write columns about the latest EPA regulations? By restricting classes, we are restricting opportunity. Our declared majors should not hinder us from exploring other areas of study.
Some would argue that because resources are limited, space is limited, and the number of seats within a class is limited, it makes sense to place these restrictions on class entry. I’m not arguing that we should eliminate restrictions entirely, I’m arguing that we should make some reformations so that registration is a fair process.