Student Experience Blog

cgefre's picture

In Search of John Hancock

I've really been dragging my feet in finishing the registration process for the upcoming winter and spring terms. While I'm definitely a sophomore in terms of average age and college experience, I technically have junior standing thanks to all those butt-kicking AP classes from high school granting me a bunch of extra credits. Having junior standing has really paid off--having an earlier pick at the classes offered each term than most of my peers has ensured that I have always gotten into my first choice without much hassle. While many of my friends only started registering on Monday, I started signing up for classes last week, which has been a great advantage. So why isn't my registration complete by now? The answer is simple...of the 16 credits I will be taking in the spring semester, 7 of them require instructor approval. Guess what that means? That's right--hunting for professor signatures.

Don't get me wrong--I've been on top of my registration since my meeting with my PEAK advisor, Dr. Eric Spencer, whose approval I needed to start the process. In fact, I sent him a list of the classes I planned on taking days in advance, and after he gave his consent to the schedule, I signed up for all the non-signature classes as soon as I could. But the thing is, up until today, I didn't really see getting those signatures as a pressing matter. Classes that require instructor approval rarely fill up very fast, so I've been putting off filling out an add slip for the registar's office. After all, the odds that those three classes would be at capacity before I could track each professor down seemed far too long for me to stress needlessly over it. Then on Sunday night when I checked WebAdvisor, our registration program, for up to date class rosters, I realized that there were only 10 available seats left in Jewish History, one of the classes I still needed to officially sign into. It was becoming too risky for me to keep putting it off.

So over the past two days, i've been criss-crossing the campus in search of the four signatures I needed to finish my registration. Here's a chronicle of those days:

Tuesday, November 12th

8:15 AM--I began the day with the promise of a signature awaiting me. The previous night, I had e-mailed Dr. Maimuna Islam, head of the English department and professor of the Advanced Fiction Workshop, asking for an appointment to ask permission to join her class in the spring. She sent me a kind e-mail in return, and she informed me that an add slip bearing her signature would be hanging on a clip next to her office. Not only would I not have to stop by the registar's office to get the slip, I would be one signature down without having to exert myself in any way. And indeed, when I went to Dr. Islam's office, the slip hung there, signed in a cerulean shade, calling for me. Feeling satisfied, I grabbed the signed form and made my way to breakfast.

8:30 AM--As I was expecting, Dr. Howard Berger was surrounded by students in the Simplot Dining Hall. He's one of the only professors I see regularly eating breakfast with the students, making him easily accessible to anyone needing to talk with him. Having had Dr. Berger for two classes last year, I was confident that he would consent to let me join his Jewish History class. When I handed him the add form and stated my case, he said as straight-faced as possible "I don't know. Do you have twenty dollars?" Luckily he still gave his signature even after I told him I didn't have that much on me. Two down!

11:20 AM--I stopped by Dr. Brent Wells' office to get his signature for Chamber Singers, but I had just missed his office hours, and he was nowhere to be found. This was a waste of time...but I figured I could easily get his signature the next day after choir. No big deal.

The rest of the day--I think about stopping by Dr. Spencer's office to get his approval, as he has to approve all the additions to my schedule due to being my PEAK adviser. But I'm too stubborn to give him a slip not completely filled out yet.

Wednesday, November 13th

10:20 AM--I go to Dr. Wells' office again, and remember that his office hours are different on Mondays and Wednesdays than they are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thus, he isn't here. What a shame.

1:00 PM--I go there again, thinking that maybe I could get lucky and catch him while he was in his office eating lunch or something. He doesn't seem to be there, though. I sighed, just wanting to get this overwith.

3:20 PM--I ran into Dr. Wells as he was on his way to his office--which was good, considering I was just leaving it empty handed again. I got his signature for Chamber Singers, and once I left his office, I did a little happy dance of victory. One to go!

3:25 PM--Finished add slip in hand, I went to Dr. Spencer's office to get his final approval. We ended up chatting about Shakespeare's Pericles, Prince of Tyre for a few minutes afterward. After seeing C of I's production of it (which featured two of my suitemates as cast members and another as a backstage worker), I was confused as to whether it would be classified as a comedy or tragedy. Luckily, Dr. Spencer is the campus' resident Shakespeare expert, and was happy to give me a quick overview of Shakespeare's later plays, and how he began experimenting his style to the point where a piece could be both a comedy and a tragedy without destroying any conventions of each. It's one of the coolest things ever to have a faculty adviser so willing to casually talk about Shakespeare with such enthusiasm.

3:35 PM--I learn from the registar's office that I need Dr. Wells signature not only for Chamber Singers, but also for Chorale, due to schedule overlap with Advanced Fiction. No big deal, since Dr. Wells and I had already discussed the matter the week before and reached a compromise exactly like the one we made this year for Creative Nonfiction...but now I had to walk all the way back to his office. Blarg. I told the registar that if I wasn't back in 10 minutes, I'd just stop by in the morning.

5:30 PM--I just ended up getting the final signature from Dr. Wells after choir finished. I figured those last 10 seats in Jewish History would remain empty at least for another 16 hours.

-Clayton Gefre

Clayton is a sophomore creative writing major from Meridian, Idaho.