Ah, this prompt again:
Share a college memory.
I’ve talked about my years at Northwestern University before (here and here). I think I’ll dip into that well again.
At the end of Freshman Orientation Week comes the day that all us newly-minted students find out, after a week of being told that we’re special and that the university really cares about us, just what a bitch college life can be. Of course, I’m talking about registering for classes.
In my case, I knew I was cursed from the start, because the sheet the university gave us with the schedule for registration told me that I would be among the last group of freshmen that would be registering. My faculty advisor, Brother Juniper, told me when I was setting up my schedule that I should plan on at least three alternatives for each of the classes I was to take, because I could count on not getting many of the classes I had selected. Accordingly, I chose four classes I wanted to take and a dozen alternates that I could live with. Thus prepared, I toddled off to get them.
Everything started out smoothly, and soon I had two of the four classes I wanted. Psychology was full, but they still had plenty of seats in Sociology, so I was down one alternate class. I was thinking, hey, this shit’s easy and walked over to the table for Intro Studies, a set of classes of which every freshman was required to take two. Needless to say, I didn’t get the class I wanted, or any of the Intro Studies classes, all of which had been snapped up by my fellow classmates. No problem, I thought; I still had eleven alternatives I hadn’t used yet.
Fifteen minutes later, I had exhausted all of those alternatives and was reduced to stopping at tables to see if they had anything at all. If they had a class, it conflicted with my schedule, but in most cases, the answer was “sorry.” Finally, I found an Art Appreciation class, the last opening in that class, added that card to my stack, and handed my cards in.
I went home and read the description of the class, and recoiled in horror when I saw that the only requirement for the class was “sophomore status.” I had inadvertently signed up for a class I shouldn’t have. What was I going to do? This was in the days when I thought registration was final, carved in stone, and once everything was set, it would take an act of Congress, or at least the intervention of the Board of Trustees, to change. I was stuck with it. I just knew the Prerequisite Police were going to find me and drag me off to the gas chamber.
I learned later that about ten percent of the people taking the class were freshmen (I knew this because they had registered with me), and there was no such thing as the Prerequisite Police. The class ended up being unintentionally funny: the professor who taught it was a magnificent painter, but had been breathing turpentine fumes a little too long, and her teaching technique was to turn on a slide projector and spend fifty minutes talking to the screen, blissfully unaware of anything else going on in the lecture hall. One day a large collie with approximately 650 tags on her collar wandered in and spent most of the period walking around the room, collar jingling loudly, until her owner came and got her. The professor droned on through all of it. I got a C in the class, not the best grade, but it was enough to pass.