shopping cart traffic

don’t be that person

As we all try to get back into an academic routine, it can be difficult during shopping week. All of your classes are busting at the door with people who waited until last night to get on the waitlist. While some of us treat shopping week as an appropriate time to test out 20 different potential schedules, Bwogger Ross thinks that shopping is terrible. Check back for a defense of shopping. 

As we all attend our first lectures this week, we’ll see a lot of people in class that we’ll never see again. During the first week of class, shopping is a hallowed tradition. But despite its frequency, intentionally over-registering for classes puts burden on your classmates and can rob you of great teaching experiences. Before registration ends, we should all consider the consequences of shopping.

Almost all classes have a registration limit. That means that if you register for and get into a popular class, somebody else registered for and did not get into said popular class. While some professors are lenient with their limits, some aren’t or can’t be. Halls can only (physically and legally) fit so many students, and professors and TA’s can only grade so many students. When it comes to registration, you cannot be totally selfless. If the class you’re interested in is mandatory for a major or concentration in which you’re not interested, another student could probably use your spot more than you. Your spot could be the envy of a junior who had an epiphany to change majors and needs to get into this lecture now, or it could be the source of panic for a busy senior who can graduate a semester early as long as they get into the Art Hum section you’re 80% sure you’re not taking.

From a more selfish perspective, limiting yourself to a schedule from the start of the year can open opportunities you would have skipped otherwise. Some professors can take time to grow, and that’s not counting the teachers who deliberately over-assign work at the start to weed out shoppers. Twice in two years I’ve been rubbed the wrong way by professors in the first week, only to find them to be caring and interesting intellectuals. By “trusting your gut” on week one, you might get away from a bad professor, but you could also sabotage your opportunity for a great class.

Further, we all need experience with bad bosses. When it comes to the job search, most of us won’t get the opportunity to try out five jobs for a week and decide which one we like the best. Studying a subject that sounds interesting with a professor who ends up subpar will still provide valuable experience for working under bad superiors. Making the most out of your situations is a life skill, and not one that should always be passed up in favor of assumed convenience.

Registering for as many classes as you can, with the assumption that you’ll drop two or three, leaves other students in distress and forces them to shuffle around their schedules for essentially no reason. Shopping can also prevent students from fun or necessary experiences in the classroom. This week, and next registration period, don’t consider shopping a victimless crime.

For this piece’s companion, check back later today and read “In Defense Of: Shopping For Classes.”