It’s the end of October, just over halfway through the semester and you know what that means. ‘Tis the season to register for classes. I can almost hear that collective groan ringing around campus. It’s not exactly everyone’s favorite part of the semester. The good news: midterms are over. The bad news: we all get to stress because there’s that one class that we just have to get into, and it just so happens to be the one class that’s full.
Now, I know you know what I’m talking about. It happens to all of us at least once in our four (okay, maybe more than four) years at CSU. And for me, it happens every single semester. I am a junior now, which means that I have registered five times, counting yesterday’s little fiasco. I wouldn’t exactly call what I do registering. Usually, I get online, realize that all of my classes are full, get aggravated, find another class that I tell myself I will probably need sometime in my life, realize it’s full, repeat this cycle maybe three more times, and then just cry. But, that wasn’t going to happen this year. I was going to be prepared.
You see, I’m still an open-option student. Yes, I’m a junior and I haven’t picked a major. It’s not really my fault though. I was a psychology major. But, well, I hated it. Science isn’t really my thing and to be a psych major you have to take a lot of science classes. So, I thought I would just switch to journalism. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy.
To become a journalism major, you have to take JT210, a news writing course that is almost impossible to get into, especially if you’re not in the major. I know. It doesn’t make any sense. You need it to become a journalism major, but it’s only open to majors for the first month. Then, open-option students can try to get in. As you can see, getting in is quite a feat. For two semesters I tried and failed. I am finally just now enrolled in the course, and my spot in the school of journalism depends on my grade.
According to the CSU Web site, the journalism department is one of 13 units in the College of Liberal Arts, which is the largest of the eight colleges on the university campus. It would appear that for such a big college, there would be a lot of open space in the program, but in actuality, the department is only a small piece of the college. With only 18 full-time faculty members and only 500 undergraduate students, the journalism program hardly scratches the surface of the 25,000 currently enrolled undergraduate students at CSU. Five separate concentrations (such as news/editorial journalism) make up the program and each holds its own requirements for getting in, so as you can imagine, it’s pretty competitive.
Many want a spot in the school but only a certain few will actually meet the criteria. Until you are in, getting into a class is not only difficult, it’s impossible. All spots are reserved for majors only. So, for now, all I can do is sign up for elective courses and just come to terms with the fact that I am going to be here for a long, long time. And who can I thank for this wonderful realization? CSU, and the wonderful people in the journalism department who seem to go out of their way to make it impossible for students to get what they want and graduate in a timely manner.
For all of you who are in a position similar to mine, and I imagine there a quite a few, hang in there. If worst comes to worst, you’ll just pay a few thousand dollars to take some classes that you don’t even need. For some strange reason I have a feeling that was exactly the university’s plan in the first place.
Kaitlin Snook is a junior technical journalism major. Her column appears every Friday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.