The Struggles of Class Registration During a Pandemic
By: Jane Hwang and Liliana Lopez
During the fall semester, both students and professors became increasingly aware of Zoom fatigue, and of how damaging a packed online schedule can be. They have tried to space out synchronous activities accordingly, so that they can be completed on one’s own time. In spite of these efforts, there is one thing that can’t be put off for later: spring class registration.
For many students who are newer to Pacific, registering for classes may be somewhat difficult due to the lack of familiarity with the Pacific campus and community. They do not have the opportunity to ask returning students for advice about classes, or to talk to professors about new opportunities. A benefit, however, is the fact that students do not have to consider class times and locations when choosing their classes. For freshmen and transfer students especially, registering may be especially difficult, particularly because they have never attended classes on campus.
Jamie Park, Pre-Dentistry, ’24, struggled with registering for the spring semester because she not only takes online classes in a different time zone but also received very little information on the process even though she met with her advisor. “I feel like there wasn’t enough guidance for us freshmen on how to register,” states Park. “I had no idea what I would have to do once my registration time frame opens in order to get the schedule that I want. I only figured out through reaching out to upperclassmen, who kindly walked me through how to do everything.”
Sarah Hess, History and pre-law, ’21, agrees with Park and advises new students to ask around for tips on which classes to register for. After two and a half “normal” years at Pacific, this semester’s registration is quite different than in other semesters, especially because she can’t speak to professors and peers in person. “I can’t as easily talk with teachers and other students about which classes will best suit me. Sometimes in-person meetings help me get a way better sense of the nature of the class,” Hess says.
However, this semester’s online atmosphere hasn’t entirely resulted in negative effects, especially for some of the faculty at the university. Professor Alan Lenzi from Pacific’s Religious Studies department is an advisor for students with undecided majors in the College of the Pacific. He states that in the future, he will probably continue to use Zoom to meet with students who can’t see him during normal office hours. “Not having to wait twelve more hours until ‘normal business hours’ to get things sorted can make the difference between getting or missing out on the classes the student wants,” Lenzi says.
Daniel Shaw, Assistant Director of Career Advising and Success, notes that the switch to online doesn’t really affect career advising. He mentions that the Career Services Center still offers all of the same services, just through Zoom, phone, and email appointments. In those appointments, Shaw shares his screen and goes through documents that the students want to look over. He notes that “Handshake is the place for students to apply for on-campus/off-campus opportunities, RSVP for events, and book their own advising appointment.” He’s not sure what the online spring semester will look like, but he hopes that it’ll be easier for everyone.
The idea of having another semester of online classes doesn’t sound very fun. But, as people do, we have learned to adapt to these unusual circumstances. Referring to his PACS 1 class, Professor Lenzi notes: “I think there’s a good sense of camaraderie. I’m impressed with their own community building…they have taken things into their own hands.”