Oberlin Blogs

Second Semester, So Far

April 2, 2019

Janelle Ickes ’22

This Add/Drop* was a lot more hectic for me than last semester. In the fall, I was easily able to get into all the classes I wanted, and I didn’t have to change anything in the first week. This time, unfortunately, I got one of the last registration slots to register for spring semester classes. When I finally got to sign up for classes, a lot of the ones I wanted were full, and I only got into one of the classes on my list. It was a very stressful morning, but I eventually found three other courses that seemed somewhat interesting and registered for them. However, they were all history classes, and history is not my favorite subject. I spent a lot of winter break planning the classes I wanted to go to during add/drop and fretting about whether or not I would get into them.

When I got back to campus, I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly my Add/Drop went - I almost enjoyed it! I ended up going to nine different classes in the first two days of class, which was totally crazy. But it was fun to get to try a bunch of different classes and meet lots of different professors, and it actually helped me figure out exactly what I wanted to do.

I also ended up taking two different ExCos and working on campus. So, here’s everything I’m doing this semester!

Research Methods 1

I wanted to take this class because it is required for the psych major and because it would knock out a quantitative reasoning and math/science requirement. In some ways it feels a lot like an introduction to statistics class, but with less focus on theory and more focus on application. The class size is pretty small and there’s a lot of group work, which is nice for working through some of the more challenging topics. There is also a lab portion of the course where you learn how to use statistics computer programs. The lab has actually been very interesting and a nice way to get a more practical understanding of the things we’re doing in class.

Clinical and Counseling Psychology

Psychology is a pretty new topic for me, as it’s something that I only started taking courses in last semester. I thought I might want to major in it, and so I wanted to learn more about the subject and see if I might actually be interested in a career in the field. I thought this course would be a good way to learn more about some of the roles that psychologists have. The professor, Meghan Morean, makes the class really fun and has a lot of interesting stories about her experiences in the field. We learn what clinical/counseling psychologists do and what kind of education you need to work in the field, and we discuss topics such as ethics, abnormality, diagnosis, and treatment. If you are considering psychology as a major and want to learn more about what it would be like to be a clinical/counseling psychologist, I would definitely recommend this course.

Intro To Linguistic Anthropology

This class is just so fascinating. I have always been interested in linguistics but this is the first time I’ve really gotten to study it. We talk about how people use languages, how people view other languages, and the role of language in society. Recently, we turned in our first major project, which was a transcription of an interview that we did with a partner earlier in the semester. We had to creatively show the sounds, gestures, and other behavior seen in the conversation, and discuss what made it an interview. It was challenging but really fun, and it really made me think about the way that we interact with others and the things we do subconsciously in conversation. This is a fantastic class!

Arthurian Fictions

I never thought that I would be interested in taking a whole course about King Arthur, but I happened to sit in on Arthurian Fictions during Add/Drop and I was hooked. Jennifer Bryan is a fantastic professor and makes the stories so interesting and alive. In this class, we study the Arthurian literary tradition through many different texts from different periods of time, and see how it has changed throughout history. Initially, I was worried that the texts we read would be archaic and difficult to understand, but the majority are actually very enjoyable. This class has reminded me how much I enjoy reading, analyzing and discussing literature, and it has made me want to take more English classes in the future!

Intro to Deaf Culture Exco

My mom works as an interpreter for deaf children, and so I’ve always been inspired to gain more sign language and learn about deaf culture. The course meets once a week. We spend one hour learning about deaf culture, and the other hour is spent “voice-off,” where we practice American Sign Language. This class is really fun and challenging, and I feel like I’ve learned so much ASL already!  Even though I’ve had some exposure to deaf communities during my life, there’s a lot of things that I didn’t know before taking this class, and it’s been enlightening in a lot of different ways. And it’s been fun for me to learn a new language, since this is the first year in a long time that I’m not taking a language class.

Intro to Tap Exco (along with fellow blogger Ruth!)

Although I did a little bit of dance in middle school, I am totally inexperienced with tap. I like it even more than I expected to, and I look forward to class every week. We meet for two hours and spend most of the time learning new steps, practicing old ones, and learning combinations and routines to songs. Our class will get to perform at the Student Dance Showcase in April, which is really exciting! The course is really laid back and fun, which is exactly what I would hope for, and we have already learned a lot. If you are at all interested in tap dance, even if you’ve never done any dance before, I would highly recommend this Exco.

DeCafe Stocking

Finally, in addition to my job as an Oberlin blogger, I work stocking products at DeCafe, the little grocery store/convenience store on campus. I just work a few hours a week, and it’s pretty laid back. It is very nice to have a break from doing school work; I definitely think it is great for any college student to have some kind of job, even a somewhat mundane one like this. It’s a good way to make money and use your brain in a different way.

Some final thoughts:

I feel like I have learned so much already about navigating registration and Add/Drop, so hopefully I won’t be as stressed out in the future! Here are my tips for having a successful registration period and Add/Drop:

1. Have a plan for registration. As soon as the course catalog with professors and class times is released, I like to go through it and write down any classes that interest me, along with any pertinent information like times and professors. Then I figure out my ideal schedule and a number of backups in case my first-choice classes are full.

2. Email any professors that require consent for their courses. If consent is required, it should say that on the class description on Banner. I typically write an email that looks something like this:

Dear Professor <name>:

My name is <name> and I am a <year number>. I am interested in <course name>

and would like to obtain consent for the course. <any information pertaining to why you

are interested or why you think you are eligible for the course>.

Thank you,


Pretty simple! It’s important to do this a few days or even a week or so before your registration period because professors get a lot of emails around this time, and not having consent for a class that requires it can make your registration process more stressful and difficult.

3. If you don’t get into a class you wanted during your registration period, email the professor right away and ask to be put on a waitlist. The sooner you can do this, the more likely it is that you’ll get into the classes you want. I usually use an email template similar to the one for consent.

**NOTE: Steps 1-3 might not matter as much when you are registering for your first semester. You do it over the summer and the process is different. Check out this post  that I wrote last month for more information about first semester classes!**

4. Over winter/summer break, look through the course catalog again and find some more classes that interest you. This is especially important if you didn’t get into classes that you like, but it’s also good to have backups in case a class you thought you would love isn’t actually that great. Make a plan for Add/Drop and decide which classes you want to go to.

5. It’s the first day of class! Go to the classes you are registered for as well as any others that you want to check out. If you think you want to join a course, talk to the professor after class and ask to be added to the waitlist. I recommend going to several different classes (even though it is exhausting), so you have as many options as possible.

6. Make the decision! Hopefully, you found classes that you like, and now you just need to choose the ones that you want to stick with. Once you’ve decided, go to Presto and drop the classes you don’t want and add the ones that you do.

7. Go to the Exco Fair (usually happens around the middle of the first week of classes), and check out all the fun options! You apply to most Excos through a quick Google form and, if you are accepted, you register for them the same way you would any other course. I highly recommend taking Excos; they’re a great way to learn about a niche topic in a relaxed yet structured setting. You can learn more about the Exco program here and check out Hanne’s blog post about her Exco experiences! 

I’ve found that these steps have worked for me, but it’s different for everyone! I would highly recommend talking with your PAL or with any older friends about their recommendations for surviving registration and Add/Drop. Good luck!




*For those of you unfamiliar with this, Add/Drop is a period of about a week and a half at the very beginning of the semester where you can go to different classes and easily change your schedule.

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