Hunting a registration unicorn

There comes a time every semester when I procrastinate with a purpose: the registration period.

From the beginning of every semester I will sporadically check the Web to see if courses are up for the next semester. And then, one day, it happens: Courses are up. I quickly open up iCal, the colorful planning system on my Macbook, and begin the daunting task.

As an English major, I first think, "How can I avoid British literature one again?" Once I get past this intimidating question, often answered with, "Push it back again," I try to figure out what I can take to fulfill my two minors: biology and human development. Slowly, my blank screen begins to fill with a rainbow of colors. What classes to take? What to avoid? Can I have off those coveted Fridays?

Every semester I plan around one thing: as few morning and Friday classes as possible. Sure, meeting the requirements for graduation is important, but even more important is the elusive three-day weekend. When I was still completing my prerequisites for medical school (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics), I solely yearned for classes that were not at 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. - I was not yet dreaming of a three-day weekend. But now, finished with the pre-medical requirements, I have more flexibility and hope. I can see the light at the end of my second half of junior year.

Scheduling takes precedent over whatever else is going on in the weeks of registration. The hourly checks to see what classes are still available run our lives. It does not matter if we are studying, in class or at work - every once and a while we find a computer, sign on the Internet and check Knightweb. If, God forbid, the class is full, there are only two choices: Find the professor and plead to be overloaded, or sit back down and rearrange your semester.

If there was to be a study about overall grades, I guarantee it would find that students butcher tests and assignments due the week leading up to registration. But, really, who cares? When it comes to acquiring the perfect schedule, nothing else matters.

I was overwhelmed the first time I registered. I had no idea what an alternate pin was, or how to get it, what professors were worth the 8:30 a.m. class, or how to overload. To help the newest Geneseo students out, I offer some pearls of wisdom:

First, if you haven't gotten your alternate pin number from your advisor at a preregistration meeting, do it soon. Secondly, be prepared to rearrange your schedule about eight (or 20) times. You register in the last leg of registration, and although many classes hold spots for underclassmen, it's likely you'll just get shut out. Sorry, but the rest of us have been here longer and deserve a sweeter schedule.

When it comes to figuring out professors, don't base decisions on ratemyprofessors.com. Talk to your friends and other students in your major. Lastly, as a freshman you may not get that wonderful four-day week with Fridays off. But don't worry, your time will come.

How do I know? Because after five semesters, I will not only obtain that three-day weekend, but I will partake of the holy grail: a four-day weekend. It will be beautiful. There will be time for Frisbee, snowboarding and weekend trips, and it makes spring break two days longer. I could not be more pleased. The three-day weekend is amazing, but the four-day weekend? That's pure bliss.

Kelly Zwiebel is a junior English major who actually caught the unicorn.

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