It’s the most wonderful time of the year …
I’m sitting on my laptop, physically drowning in papers and assignments, when an email notification pops up on my phone — not that I was on my phone instead of doing homework or anything but this is a judgement-free zone so get off my back. I swipe down to check out what all the fuss is about in my inbox. That’s when I see her …
The most beautiful sight I have ever witnessed. I fell to my knees. Tears welled up in my eyes. I finally felt some warmth in my body that has been oh so cold for so many years.
Seven words, four numbers, 26 letters.
“Winter 2018 Course Guide is now live!”
Scheduling is the only thing I look forward to all semester. I understand the irony because I said the same thing last semester and the classes the course guide gave me for fall 2017 have been sucker-punching me in the gut and spitting on my writhing body for the past 12 weeks but I stand by my opinion. The course guide launching is like Christmas or Hanukkah or any denominational celebration that takes place in the winter months. Think about it. You don’t know what you’re gonna get, some gifts are better than others and making your wishlist is often more fun and rewarding than the gifts themselves.
I check my enrollment time — the ultimate decider that either lifts you to academic success and mental health or the final nail in your coffin.
“December 4th, 12:45 pm”
Not bad. I text my friends to check if I’m royally screwed or if I’m in good shape. They respond:
“December 4th, 1:00 pm”
I’m safe. I throw all my other homework aside (as if I were emotionally invested in it in the first place) and dive head-first into the course guide. Who would have thought I was diving into the equivalent of a kiddie pool with a concrete bottom?
Balancing my major, my minor, the LSA requirements, academic interests, personal interests, credit load and sanity is not an easy task. Three hours fly by before you can say, “Hey, Matt, maybe you should focus on your assignment due tomorrow instead of scheduling for classes like a dipshit,” and I finally have one schedule option that fits all my aforementioned categories. The golden schedule. The one true option. The highly coveted.
I have done the impossible.
A week goes by and my schedule still sits backpacked in Wolverine Access, right where it belongs. It awaits Dec. 4 so everything can be confirmed. I tuck in my schedule every night and sing it a lullaby so it knows how much I appreciate it. I don’t know why I checked but something told me I should explore the course guide some more. I go back to one of my classes and see the time of the class changed from 11-12 to 12-1.
One hour has officially thrown a stone at the glass house that was my schedule. The new 12-1 class interferes with my second class, which, in turn, now interferes with my third class, which, you guessed it, jams a wrench into my schedule’s spokes and screws over my fourth class.
I sit, mouth agape, watching everything I loved and cherished in this world fall apart. I can’t blame myself. I won’t blame myself.
The course guide betrayed me.
Why would the course guide do this to me? We had an agreement. I trusted the course guide and no consideration was given to how I might feel if a class was changed from 11-12. I have never felt this much pain in my entire life.
I login to my Backpack and stare at what could have been. I can’t look for too long unless I want to start crying like when I saw “Marley and Me” in theaters.
You can’t tell me you didn’t bawl like a damn baby when Owen Wilson buried that yellow Labrador retriever.
I select all the courses and press “Delete.” Along with my Backpack, my heart is empty.
I walk with my head hung low back to the dorm to find all my friends who are 15 minutes after me for scheduling times. They knew. They knew something happened.
“Something wrong with your sched, Matt? Are you crying?”
No, my eyes are just watering. My face is sweaty. I just cut an onion.
I explain the situation and how I have to make a whole new schedule in a few days’ time. I may have broken down a few times in the process, but eventually I get the story out in full. Instead of consoling me and reminding me there are plenty of courses in the sea, all I get is a room full of friends laughing at my misfortune, telling me I’m up a creek without a paddle.
I spend the next day and a half browsing the course guide once again. This time, I can only find classes that fit a few of my necessary categories. Maybe I want to take a class in my major, but it starts at 8:30 a.m. and I am not about that lifestyle or maybe this class sounds amazing but it interferes with a prior commitment. Suffice it to say, my friends were right. Turns out I was the one who was destined to be royally screwed.
While browsing my own personal hell that is now the course guide, I can barely keep from crying. My mind keeps wandering to how beautiful life was when I had a schedule and all was right in the world. Now, life is gray and my schedule has gone down the toilet.
I come to the realization that I did this to myself. I can’t mope and think the course guide was out to get me. I was the one who started scheduling before the class times were finalized. If I had waited, I might have been able to fix this and cause less pain. I might have been able to meet with an adviser and get, well, advised. They could have at least outlined my options instead of allowing me to flop around like a fish in the desert, gasping for breath and baking in the sun.
I’ve made my bed and now I must lie in it. Next semester, I solemnly swear not to start searching for classes until I am positive no switcheroos can ruin my life again.
*Flash forward to next semester*
Ooh the course guide is out!