Ask a bunch of Cornellians what scares them here and you’ll probably get a few similar responses. Sure, most people here are terrified of Honors Organic Chemistry, and the mere thought of Saturday morning final exams might send shivers down their spines.
Want to know another frightening thing? The band Nickelback will probably be going on tour soon again. But, do you want to know something even more terrifying to Cornell students?
Online course enrollment.
No, I’m not joking; let me explain. One morning each semester, students are instructed to log onto Cornell’s StudentCenter website and enroll in classes for the upcoming term–at 7 am, to be exact. (The specific day varies according to whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, etc.) While this sounds all nice and rosy, the problem is that because you have thousands of people logging on at the exact second, the system gets bogged down and crashes–over and over again. The stressful part is that there are only a finite number of seats in each class, and it’s basically first come first serve. So what you essentially have is a virtual rat-race to get into the most popular classes–or your schedule gets messed up (see the photo to the right for a wonderful representation, if I may say so myself). From my dorm, I could hear the shouting of other people sitting by their computers just as stressed as I was.
I was a perfect example of this. I did everything right; I set my alarm to 6:50, hopped to my computer with my list of desired classes at hand, and waited for the clock to strike 7. I kid you not, I was waiting by my laptop for 90 minutes to select all my classes because the website kept blocking me out and making me start over–all the while my heart racing, fully aware I was in a competition to get into the classes I wanted. Luckily, I was able to get into what seemed to be my most popular class just in the brink of time: Communication and Technology, one that a lot of people that I’ve talked to are interested in and have been trying to get into. Check it out:
Palms sweating, out of breath, and fatigued, I could taste victory. I beat you, CoursEnroll, and got into every class I wanted to. Rematch? Sure, same time, next semester…