By: Annamarie White
It’s that time of year again, Hoyas.
The time when the the trees are bare and so are your notebooks (finals are just a bit too far away to panic about the doodle v. actual notes ratio quite yet). The cold November air is beginning to seep through your thin dorm walls, and you begin to seriously consider burning your textbooks to keep warm, had they not cost you an obscene amount of money to buy. You scroll through Halloween photos with sweet melancholy: so much Netflix, so much chill. With so much time standing between you and Thanksgiving break – a.k.a. half a week of food that isn’t Leo’s and reading that isn’t by an obscure ancient philosopher (unless Henri Bergson your beach-read of choice, in which case read on) – it’s important not to lose sight of the smaller fall milestones coming your way this month. First up? Preregistration.
This is how I imagine the Georgetown University Registrar & Assistant Provost, John Q. Pierce, as he gears up for pre-registration:
While on many levels I share JQP’s excitement regarding pre-reg, the next two-ish weeks can actually be a quite stressful time of the year for many. There are a number of things we must consider when choosing our courses for next semester: Is this a course that I’m genuinely interested in? What have past students said about the professor? What’s the policy about snacking in class?
Thus, to make the pre-registration process as painless as possible, I present to all of you How to Pre-Register So You Don’t End Up Taking Classes That You Totally Hate and Drive You to Hide Away And Start A New Life In the Tunnels That Run Under Georgetown’s Campus in 3 Easy Steps (Though, until I write one of these on How to Create Catchy Paper Titles, we’ll just call it Pre-Reg in 3 Easy Steps).
Step one: do your research. Thanks to this nifty device called The Internet, kids these days can spend hours each day reading listicles (list articles) of fascinating literature like “8 Tricks Celebrities Use to Get Their Ears Red-Carpet Ready” and watching Olivia Pope drink wine. They can also, so I’ve heard, use this invention for productive means, like nailing pre-registration. Take some time in between November 2 and November 14th (November 11, if you’re in the College) to play around on MyAccess and get to know the course offerings Georgetown has offered as tribute for this spring. Once you’ve identified a handful of classes that strike your fancy, hop on over to Rate My Professor to check out what past students have said about the instructor. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t click with a professor, it doesn’t matter if they are teaching something like “How to Eat Cupcakes and Avoid Responsibility 101” – the class will be much less enjoyable. On the other hand, a really engaging professor might be able to turn “Dirt 207” into a knee-slappin’ good time for the whole family. Your professor will make or break your class, so don’t skimp on the research. After you have a handful of super-interesting classes with mega-talented professors, take advantage of The Corp’s website, Classy, which allows you to visualize a snapshot of what your schedule might look like if you were to enroll in those classes. After a semester or two, you learn from experience whether or not morning classes are for you, or if you will inevitably spend all of that 5:00pm class thinking about what you’re going to eat for dinner. Use scheduling tools like Classy to help ensure that you are designing a schedule that is going to help you reach your fullest potential.
Step two: send out an SOS. Sometimes The Internet can be a little daunting, and you begin to crave some old-fashioned face-to-face interaction. Set up a meeting with your dean or academic advisor in order to go over what classes will help you fulfill your requirements. These people likely know what classes are popular and/or can recommend classes that you might not have otherwise looked at. If nothing else, your dean can help you submit your pre-registration forms correctly. As someone who has – for the past three semesters – received emails from her dean asking her to fix something about her pre-reg submission (“Annamarie, you can’t select “No” for “Any section?” option AND refuse to put alternative class options down.”), trust me when I say that having your dean help you send in the forms correctly the first time around will save you a lot of time down the road.
Step three: get over it. Okay, this chick is just re-using steps from her previous articles. This is true, but bear with me: you will probably not get into every class you pre-register for. You might not even get a full schedule. This is normal. It doesn’t mean that the University hates you and wants to punish you by enrolling you in 8am classes Monday-Thursday. Unfortunately, it happens to the best of us (a.k.a. me, and maybe you too). Whether you don’t get into the popular professor’s section or end up having to choose a different English class, I can assure you that it will all work out. As much as I stressed great professors earlier, I will also encourage you to give all your classes a chance. You might be surprised at how you much you actually enjoy “Poetry for Engineers.” If you go to a few classes and still don’t love it, you can always drop a course and enroll in something else. Georgetown works hard to provide the tools to give you a course load that can be both exciting and educational – so take the good with the bad, the “Office Hours Mandatory” with the “No Weekend Homeworks.” At the end of the day, you’re guaranteed to end up in classes where even if you don’t love the material, you will at least learn something (exhibit A: Finance), and you can take solace in knowing that the magical period of pre-registration for next next semester is just around the corner.
So go forth, fellow students, and pre-register with confidence. After all, before you know it, it’ll be finals season and you’ll probably be scrolling through your MyAccess page again with sweet melancholy, as the wind chill forces the temperature into the single digits and DC is covered in muddy half-melted snow. I cannot wait.