With the start of enrollment season for the second semester of academic year 2012-2013, I recall the past enrollments in my four years at UP Diliman and how much I have been through. Now, even my family members are familiar with the little battle that I embark on each time enrollment season comes around. And although my father always reminds me of how much better we have it now that things are computerized, as opposed to the completely manual process they had to go through back then, I am left to wonder if there really is no better way to get things done.
It starts with online pre-enlistment for classes on CRS. As a freshman you easily breeze through this process by getting every class you enlist for. Any class that sounds interesting or you’ve heard will give you an “easy uno”, you enlist for and you get it. But be warned that when you are no longer a freshman, it’s a different story. You greedily enlist for as many classes as you can, and your entire schedule is red from all the conflicts and overlaps. It’s chaotic. In desperation, you end up signing up for 30+ units worth of classes hoping that you finally get a PE that actually involves physical activity. Then pre-enlistment closes for the first batch run. While waiting for results you find yourself praying to a CRS god, hoping that he/she showers you with blessings of a multitude of classes. On Facebook, friends suddenly post “I love CRS” as their status, promising that you will be granted your classes if you do. You decide that there’s nothing to lose, so you join the band wagon and make it your status too – just in case.
When the results are finally released you hold your breath as you log into CRS. You only get six or eight units, if you’re really lucky you get twelve, or sometimes if the CRS gods have really damned you, three or nothing. But hope is not lost and you think to yourself that there is still the second batch run. You pray harder this time because you know that if you don’t get the classes you need then you’ll end up battling in the frontlines on enrollment day. When the results come out you either rejoice at the simple fact that you are at least not under-load this semester, or you grow pale with the realization that nothing has changed from the first batch run. And secretly, deep down, you curse at those friends that post and brag about their schedules on Facebook, or how they got that great PE or GE even if they’re not a freshman.
There’s a reason why UP has been jokingly called the University of pila, and you learn this during enrollment. At one point, you’ve tried coming to school at 6:00am hoping that you’re first in line and you get a GE, particularly an MST. But after waiting for hours for the desks or windows to open, they send you all away because there are no more available slots. You are heartbroken and wander into a different building, knowing that you will no longer be first in line wherever you go but it’s still early in the day and the battle has just begun.
You are one of the many students waiting at the lobby of a building or shoving towards a door that you feel might be your salvation when they finally start giving away available slots for classes. Then, as if your suffering wasn’t enough, they come up with different ways to raffle the class away. With about 60 students battling for four slots, they get your IDs and like a scene from the Hunger Games, they draw from the stack of IDs and announce the lucky winners of these slots, and you think to yourself “may the odds be ever in my favor.” Sometimes though, you find yourself in the right place at the right time when a slot suddenly opens up right when you were next in line. You are ecstatic to get it, but feel sorry for the person behind you who wasn’t quite as lucky.
For some, this suffering does not end during the days of enrollment, but extends through the first week of classes. You weren’t lucky enough to get the classes you needed during enrollment days, so you put yourself at the mercy of the professor whom you hope will understand your suffering and have pity on your poor under-loaded soul. You secretly curse the professor that made you stay or wait the entire class only to tell you that there’s no more room for you, when you could have tried your luck somewhere else. You also try coming to a 7:00am class hoping that no one else will be that desperate and that the professor sees your dedication in showing up that early and allow you to join their class, only to learn that the professor is not showing up for the first week of class. You beg and beg, and have gone as far as following the professor to their office or car just hoping that he/she will say yes, but you can see that they are rushing to get away from you and the answer is still “no.” Finally, a good Samaritan professor sees your anxious or dejected soul waiting in the classroom and adopts you into his/her class. Salvation.
After paying for tuition or whatever ad-mat or change-mat fees you accumulated, you finally attend classes like a normal student and are more than glad that it’s all over – till your next semester. – Nadine Gutierrez