My least popular piece of advice

Academic advising is happening this week and next, so there will be a lot of students looking at their schedules and hoping to get in this class or that. Housing selection for residence halls will happen in the coming weeks too, with jockeying for residence halls, apartments, etc. Which leads me to one of my least popular pieces of advice for my advisees: someone has to go last.

No one wants to hear that, of course. But the nature of randomized lotteries for housing and registration are such that someone will have to choose last. While the odds are in your favor that it won’t be you, sometime you will be last. And unpleasant as that is, it is life.

Registration happens over a period of two weeks, and they try to allocate it such that if you have a late-ish time for the first week/round 1, you’ll have an early-ish time the next week/round 2. When advisees ask me which classes to choose in round 1, I always tell them “whatever is the most important class for you” – and if you get it, fantastic! If not, choose something else and you can wait until next semester to try again.

Case in point: there was one class at Wake where I was dead set that I had to have a specific professor, and he was very, very, VERY  popular. I did not get into his class until my third try at registering. Now, I could have taken it with a different faculty member, but I chose not to.

Final thought re: registration. I can very often find openings in classes at 8 and 9 am, or with a different professor than the student might have wanted. So my plea to all students is to consider all the options, not just their first choice – and not to be daunted by someone’s reputation. I had a psych professor here back in the day that everyone told me NOT to take, and he ended up being a fantastic professor (hard, sure, but very interesting lectures, and took the time to learn every single one of our names in a 60 person class). Had I listened to conventional wisdom, I would have missed a great class.

Wanted to close today’s blog by noting that I received word that tonight there will be a memorial service at 6:30 pm on Manchester Plaza to honor the victims of the New Zealand Mosque attacks.  The service is being organized by the Muslim Student Association. This is an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to stand together in solidarity and prayer, in support of the victims and the people of New Zealand.


— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94

Categories: the daily deac

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