On Flexibility and Class Registration (Spoiler: It’ll All Be Fine)
’Tis the season for sweaters, pumpkin pie, giving thanks and class registration. Here at Kenyon, it’s that time of the year when students are planning potential schedules, meeting with advisors, looking up major and minor requirements, and soliciting friends’ opinions about classes. For me, prepping for registration means spending some quality time in front of Kenyon’s online searchable schedule with my favorite purple notebook and a slew of colorful pens, because color-coordination gives me the much-needed impression that I have some semblance of control over my life.
The truth is that registration is stressful. There’s nothing fun about the pressure to click the right buttons on your computer at exactly the right time to try to get into the classes you want to take before they fill up. Some of us find this ordeal less stressful than others — there are the people who wake up with five minutes to spare and register from bed in their pajamas, and then there are the people who fret the entire week leading up to registration and analogize it to The Hunger Games of college. I will admit that I have occasionally been known to fall into the latter group.
But although we as students collectively dramatize the pressure, stress and frustration that can sometimes accompany registration, the truth is that it is really just a lesson in flexibility. You may not get into all the classes you were hoping to take. Although at the time this may seem like the biggest tragedy of your life, it’s not. If it weren’t for a few initially disappointing registrations, I would have missed out on some terrific classes.
Last year, I wanted to take a class with a certain professor, but wound up in a section with a different professor who was rumored to be extremely difficult. I was prepared for a long, grueling semester. To my surprise, I really enjoyed the class; it was a lot of work, but by the end of the semester, I felt as though I’d learned many valuable skills. My professor turned out to be helpful, entertaining and extremely intelligent. Looking back, I think it was this class that solidified my decision to major in psychology.
This semester, I found myself in another class I wasn’t at all expecting to take — “Human Sexual Behavior.” I had some trouble getting into psychology classes during my last registration, so at the end of summer, when I saw an email from the psychology department announcing this new class, I didn’t think twice. I jumped on the opportunity. It was only once I settled into my seat on the plane back to Ohio that I realized how apprehensive I was about this class. There are some people who are quite good at talking about awkward subjects like sex. I am not one of those people. I could hardly buy the textbook at the bookstore without turning an embarrassing shade of red. Needless to say, when it came time for our first class, I was rather nervous — until I ended up loving it. Putting a somewhat taboo subject like sexuality into an educational setting made the topic so much easier to think and talk about. Not only do I now look forward to class, but I’ve also realized the importance of having those tough conversations about awkward subjects that many of us would rather ignore. I know that I will continue to think about what I’ve learned in this class for a long time to come.
So even though I’m currently stressed about my impending registration, I know it’s important to keep reminding myself of the surprisingly wonderful classes in which I’ve accidentally found myself. This is a situation where you learn the benefits of being flexible — a lesson that is just as important as anything you’ll learn in a classroom.