Tag Archives: BearDown

My Registration Nightmare

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

Office Hours…Who Needs ‘Em?

17 Apr

I rarely hear any of my fellow Wildcat friends talk about visiting their professors. It’s hard enough to get them to go to meet with their advisor. And if you are anything like me, its rare that you hit up your professors or TA’s office hours without a really good reason to do so as well. However, as much as we may avoid it, office hours have the potential to be very effective. Plus, you aren’t going for anyone else’s sake but your own. So why not take one for the team and get the help you need.

Tip #1

Know who to take your questions to.

Scope out the TA’s who look lazy or just bored with being a TA and AVOID them! For example, the TA who sits in the back of the class and scrolls through their TwitterFeed while the professor lectures, don’t go to that person. They probably wouldn’t be able to answer ANY question.

Try to find the most enthusiastic TA. You know the one that takes the time to answer leftover questions at the end of class, GO to them. Find out if they would have time in their office hours to take some of your questions. If they do, then go for it. If they don’t, you can always ask them if you can speak to them via email or appointment.

If that doesn’t work, or if your question requires expert knowledge,then your best bet is to head straight to the professor. The office hours of the professor should be posted in several places:

Syllabus

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D2L or Blackboard

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or

Department Website

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Tip #2

Dress code.

Once you’ve found the best person to speak to and the best times that work for you, head on over to office hours. But when you get to this point, pay attention to what you wear. I know that the UA is a place where the weather is nice and everybody is chill and laid back BUT I wouldn’t recommend showing up to office hours wearing something like this:

Screen shot 2014-04-11 at 11.23.01 AMScreen shot 2014-04-11 at 11.22.05 AM

I’m not telling you to hide who you are or what you believe in but you want to make sure that you leave a good impression. Plus, how awkward would it be if, instead of answering your question about partial derivatives, your professor asks you to explain what twerking is, or what species of flora is printed on your shirt. And unless you are into having awkward conversations with older people, its not worth it. Wear something neutral that day. Something that says, “hey, I’m young and having fun, but I have a serious question to ask”. No need for business casual outfits, just stay away from distracting clothing items like the ones above.

Tip #3

Don’t force a conversation.

Sometimes you need to get in and get out. You aren’t required to pretend like you care about anything else but getting help with your class. If you would like to spark a conversation with your TA or professor about their love of dogs, food, or movies, then by all means go for it. But if you really only care to talk about the matters of your course, then stick with what you are there for. I’ve had plenty of meetings with professors where I have wanted to ask questions about pictures on their walls, their background education and where they came from. However, often times I don’t have the spare time to converse freely about it with them. Instead of starting a conversation and having to cut it short because I have to leave, I just save it for another time. I mean, there are times that you want to go in for office hours for the purpose of socializing and networking with UA faculty. In those cases, keep in mind that there may be students waiting to talk to that professor/TA as well.

That’s it for my tips on office hours. I hope you Wildcats make sure to ask questions, keep studying, and continue to Bear Down!

-Ciara