The day that determined my fate for the coming spring semester

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

KAZDEN WATKINS, Channels Staff

My mouth hung open. Suddenly the room began to spin as the temperature seemed to increase to that of a blistering inferno.

Tears welled up in my eyes as my brow furrowed. I was unable to cope with what I was reading on my screen.

My life was over. City College’s student portal, Pipeline had crashed and I wasn’t going to get my first pick of classes for the next semester.

The girl in the next room yelled “I got on! I got on to Pipeline!”

Hearing this only fueled my rage. I spammed the refresh button like I had a death wish. My finger grew numb, but still the blue error screen popped up, saying something about there being too many people trying to access Pipeline’s servers.

“I got my classes!” the girl shouted with glee. I let out a raw, guttural cry that sounded like a cross between Chewbacca and a caveman.

I was totally jealous of her. I had schedule envy. It may seem weird that I reacted the way I did about my schedule for next semester, but it’s something that I feel very strongly about.

Like thousands of other students at City College, I want to complete my credits as soon as possible so I can transfer to a 4-year university. And like thousands of those other students, I want the best classes.This means scouring and finding the best teachers in all the subjects that I need to complete credits for.

I draft about ten possible class schedules based on these teachers’ ratings and narrow those ten down to a perfect set of three. When it’s time for class registration I take those three and see if I can get all of the classes of at least one of those hypothetical schedules. If only it were that easy.

I’m still in my first semester at City College so I don’t have priority when it comes to registration dates. This means I have to share the same registration date and time with thousands of other students just as eager to get their classes.

I think that’s pretty overwhelming. Pipeline’s servers felt the same way.

After about ten minutes of rapid-fire clicking, the error message disappeared and I was directed to the registration page. I rushed to type in the CRN numbers for my classes.

None of them were available. In complete denial, I typed in my classes for all three schedules again. I couldn’t even get on the waitlist for any of them.

Imagine Van Gogh had finished painting “Starry Night”. He’s sitting there with only one ear thinking, “Damn Vincent, you really outdid yourself this time. People are going to love this.”

Then all of the sudden his beautiful painting catches fire, disappearing before his eyes.

That’s what happened with my schedule. My beautiful masterpiece had turned to ash before me, except the fire was a light blue hue and it wasn’t actually a fire, it was an error screen.

I had worked so hard to get my classes just the way I wanted them, or at least somewhere close, but in the end it only resulted in me becoming a vulture. I circled over the rotten carcasses of classes that I wouldn’t have even considered viable options before, trying to salvage what I could get and make a somewhat-survivable schedule.

After about 30 minutes of picking-and-choosing, I stared at my terrible excuse of a schedule. I was taking a random slew of classes with subjects I had no interest in that contributed nothing to my prospective major.

I did not expect it to end this way. I was confused. Why put in all of this effort planning for my future if I can’t end up being mildly happy with my schedule? The classes you take anywhere can completely determine how you feel about that school and its environment.

An unprepared server on what is known to be the busiest day for traffic on the portal has now become the decider on whether or not I will enjoy my experience at school. It’s gotten to the point where making ten schedules doesn’t seem to be enough.

There has to be a way to combat this. Whether it be upgrading Pipeline’s hosting service so it can handle more visitors or developing an easier and less stressful registration process, something has to be done. If a new student like myself can’t get the classes they need to transfer, things can pile up and result in spending another semester, or even two trying to complete all the necessary credits.

But hey, I guess there’s always next semester.