What, sitting through a two-and-a-half-hour lecture in Schermerhorn isn’t how you want to spend your Friday nights? Or any nights at all? What if it wasn’t a choice? What if it was?

Course registration. We all know it is an awful time for several awful reasons. I am not complaining about anything no one has complained about before. However, I still want to ask: Why are we doing this to ourselves? And I’ll be more specific: why are we all subjecting ourselves—professors, TAs, students, and miscellaneous others—to God-awful class times?

In the absence of a narrative, I shall structure my grievances with bullet points:

  • Classes with evening and/or weekend times

I know and understand that it is good to have a variety of class times. Evening classes, in particular, have their strengths: I get that putting your hours-long lab in the evening helps keep it from disrupting people’s schedules for other classes. I get that evening classes are, generally, more accessible to people with commitments in the day. I get that it is not “normal” for a college student to go to bed at 9:30 pm and thus be stretched to the limit by a class that ends at 8:40. I understand this. But cruel evening times are not my only gripes. In my department, do you want to know what time slot is being offered for more than one course, including certain required ones? Saturday, 10:10 am to 12:40 pm. Friday, 6:10 to 8:40 pm. Those are weekend times! Those hours are supposed to be my hours of rest and relaxation! What’s going on here? 

And it’s not just my [REDACTED] department. Here is a terrible menagerie of course times I encountered going through the directory. All of them prompted a physical reaction.

  • Required classes for a major that have no listed time

I am fortunate enough to like my major enough that I will do basically whatever my [REDACTED] department asks me to if they do so nicely. The professors are all my best friends, but I also desperately need their approval and praise. However, telling me I must take a class and then not telling me when I must just feels like you are rubbing in the fact that I am completely beholden to your whims. Don’t I do enough? Why must you plunge me into an illogical, unknowable world?

  • Kayaking

I’m not actually mad at this one, because it’s kind of funny. I just cannot imagine how it feels to be in a kayak, in a pool, in Dodge gymnasium, on a Thursday, and it is 11:30 pm. People have gone to bed for the night and you are out there kayaking. Perfecting kayak rolls in chlorine-treated water. Presumably changing in and out of swimsuits in a gender-segregated locker room. You can’t even get JJ’s for yourself afterward, because in this timeline we’re living in, JJ’s closes at 10 pm. And while the JJ’s workers are cleaning up and closing down the space, you are underground in a pool. What is up with that?

  • The fact that professors are doing this not just to us, but to themselves, too

It’s just not us students who must find ways to cope in this terribly timed world. For example, I have a wonderful, if quirky, professor who definitively hates teaching a 6:10 pm class. He’s an avowed critic of the time slot (me too, man!). But this past fall, this spring, this next fall, and presumably for semesters before that, he has taught and will be teaching a 6:10 pm class. Get this: it is always paired with an 8:40 am—in the exact same lecture hall. And every morning begins and every evening ends with him teaching in the same room. And this is a choice he makes, semester after semester, to be in the same lecture hall morning and night, a college classroom with the kind of wall clocks they have in public high schools and the same tiny desks and wet erasers that won’t properly clean the blackboard when you need to reuse the space. Alternatively witnessing the sunset through its windows in spring or the morning frost melting in fall. And he chooses it again. And he chooses it again. And we students, needing elective credits or major requirement fulfillments or something else to fill the space, choose those same 8:40 ams and 6:10 pms right there with him. 

And we choose it again. 

And we choose it again.

Could I beat them in a fight?: No. What were we talking about?

Self-defense tip: Nothing to be done.

The Myth of Directory University Columbia Of Classes via creator