Oberlin Blogs

Expectations vs. Reality: Add/Drop

February 12, 2024

Ozzie Frazier '27

Starting in November (and again in April) each year, every student at Oberlin is assigned a timeslot for course registration. With a few exceptions, priority is assigned by class year, which means that older students have a better chance of registering for the classes they want. It's sort of universally understood that first-year students won't get all the classes they're hoping for, so I was slightly disappointed—but unsurprised—when I came out of registration with only 2 of the 4 classes I had initially wanted. Fortunately, I knew that many students change their classes during the first week and a half of the semester, also known as the Add/Drop period, so I still had a chance. 

In the process of mentally preparing for this week, I formed a pretty clear picture of what it would look like (i.e. stressful and exhausting). There's a Peter Wastholm quote that says something like, "always expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed," and I have a tendency to live by that sentiment. As it turns out, my vision wasn't even remotely accurate.

In case you're like me and you always want to know what to expect (but still want to avoid catastrophizing), I have created a handy-dandy list of my expectations about Add/Drop and all the ways they—thankfully—failed to come to life. 

Expectation: Waitlisting so many classes and not having any time to attend them all.

Reality: I checked the course catalog regularly over Winter Term, and I actually got into one of the classes I was waitlisted for before the semester had even started. I also got an email about a new Writing & Creativity course that had just been added to the catalog, and I was able to register for that instead of a random Politics course I had added just to fill my credits. That meant that I was only waitlisted for one class, and I decided early in the week that my chances of getting in (from 17th on the waitlist) were not high enough to warrant attending the class. So I only had four classes to attend! Easy peasy.

Expectation: Easing into the semester slowly, ramping up over time as I remember what it's like to have homework.

Reality: I had forgotten that professors assign real homework during Add/Drop. Last semester, most of my classes were pre-assigned, and I didn't really consider trying to change my schedule at all. It wasn't a big deal trying to keep up with classwork during Add/Drop because I wasn't adding or dropping. This semester, I was a little more willing to try out a class and change my mind if I didn't like it, so I was a little taken aback by also having to manage readings on top of that. This was the only Reality of Add/Drop that was challenging for me, and for the most part my readings this week have been really interesting! But it is something to keep in mind if you're planning to switch into a course during the first week—you might already be behind by the time you get there on day 2.

Expectation: Having nothing to do in my free time/no interesting campus events to attend. 

Reality: I saw 4 different theater productions this past week: Beyond Therapy, a Winter Term comedy produced by OMTA/OSTAFalling Westward, a LabSeries play written and directed by a current fourth-year; Ancestra, a Mainstage Winter Term production that several of my friends were in; and Ubu Roi, an OMTA/OSTA absurdist play written in the 1800s. Not only that, but I also went to the ExCo and Housing Fairs, attended several club meetings, and participated in a dialogue about anti-Trans legislation in Ohio. I should know by now that things at Oberlin are never boring.

Expectation: Struggling to wake up for my 9am Sociology class as I recovered from my Winter Term sleep schedule. 

Reality: I started the week with a 24-hour bug that totally destroyed any semblance of a sleep schedule that I had in place. After a night of almost no sleep, I was super prepared to go to bed at 10pm on Monday night, and every night after that. Although I'm not sure if that was the easiest way to fix my sleep schedule, it was certainly effective, and I haven't been late to class even once this week. Maybe it was meant to be?

Expectation: Being sad about the gray and disgusting weather.

Reality: It was sunny and beautiful all week, with highs in the mid-60s. While unfortunate for global warming and plant growth reasons, this was definitely a mood boost. Several times this week I walked out of class to see Wilder Bowl filled with students chatting, snacking, or playing frisbee. It was also a super nice way to run into people I hadn't seen since December. It's already cold and dreary again, so I'm glad I took every chance I got to sit outside and soak up the sunshine.

So, as I've discovered, my expectations are usually not very accurate, but sometimes that's for the best. Sometimes reality is even better than I expected. 


P.S. If you're curious, my classes this semester are Intro to Sociology: Swallowing the Red Pill, Writing & Creativity, Intro to Statistics, and Body Re-education & Functional Anatomy. I'm also in Musical Union, and I'm auditing the Contact Improvisation ExCo. The semester has a lot in store!

Similar Blog Entries