For all our new P’19s, there might be some flutters in your stomachs (or more likely your Deacs’ stomachs) as the new students self-register for up to 8 hours of their fall schedules this week. Upperclassmen parents, you probably remember the drill yourselves.
This tends to be an anxiety-producer all around: what should I take? am I choosing the right things? what if what I want is closed before I can register? how do I know what is the best thing to do?
Stop, and take a deep breath. Or two, or three.
There’s lots of resources out there to understand the academic requirements, registration process, and advising process – and links on the left menus show places to get more info. And there are some videos at the top of the Virtual New Student Reception page plus this email from the Office of Academic Advising to the first-years about registration.
The good news for our freshman – you haven’t fulfilled any of your Basic or Divisional requirements yet, so pretty much anything you take within those groups will advance you toward a degree. The other good news: things tend to work out – so trust the process.
A note to students (and parents!) though, that you might not get your first choice of classes your first semester, because sophomores, juniors, and seniors registered before you (as they should). So, students, make your choices given your best available options at the time.
Aside: this is a mantra I stress over and over to all the students I meet with: life is about choices. And while it would be great to have the luxury of choosing from Column A and Column B every time, sometimes you can choose one, not both. [I jokingly refer to this as the Betsy Binary.] So if you have to choose Column A or Column B (not both), rather than lament the fact you can only choose one, just make your best decision and move on, knowing that we can’t have everything exactly as we wish all the time.
Before each registration period while I was a student at Wake, I tried to craft my Dream Schedule (A list), but also had a B-list and a C-list and a D-list schedule, so I had backup plans and options. If you get lucky, you’ll get some A- and B-list items the first year – if not, your backup classes are still things that will check off requirements on the Course Completion Checklist and move you towards your degree.
In terms of choosing classes, there may be some courses you’ll put your foot down about and say “I must have ENGXXX class with Dr. YYY and if I don’t get it this time, I’ll try again next semester.” There may be other times when you say “I wanted REL111 with Dr. ZZZ but it is closed. But I see an opening for REL111 with Dr. AAA and I’m OK with that.”
Part of the exercise of going to college and growing into adulthood is about evaluating options and making choices. Parents, you can help here by reminding your students that sometimes life is about getting “A or B” not “A and B” – and that’s OK.
— by Betsy Chapman