Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Oh, the horror of waitlists.

I cannot bear it so well as those for whom the word 'tedium' suffices to describe a waitlist. Even those classes for which all of logic guarantees my place I am nervous, and for those in which I am not guaranteed a seat I am more nervous still. I know many share this lack of composure and I must assure them all that it is irrational and they should stop it. I also believe a waitlist support group is in order. Oddly enough I have been the most sure of those around me. This is my second year, and I know from experience that one almost always finds a place in the class that they aim for, but then I needed reassuring. Now it falls to me to reassure worried friends that I will in fact find a seat in that history class I need so desperately.

One day until my first writing class and I am eleventh on the waitlist. Is this cause to panic? Maybe. If you happen to read this blog for some peculiar reason on this exact day and for some reason or other take a fancy to it, than it may be a reason for a very minor amount of regret, as I cannot possibly blog about my creative writing class without said class. Or rather I could, but it wouldn't be as much fun when everyone learned I had been lying and someone hired a ninja to have me assassinated. Do ninjas assassinate people? That is beside the point. I shan't blog if I don't have a class, so I order my invisible gnomish audience to be compassionate and make sad sounds.

Priority for the writing class I meant to enter is given to writing majors, priority over all is given to first years at this university; these things are fair, rational, unavoidable, and annoying. As one might guess I am not a writing major, a first year, or someone clever enough to trick my way into the faculty just to take the class. I happened to be at work (I worked far too much this summer) when non-writing majors were able to apply, and made the grand commission of signing me up over to another (who promptly forgot). Henceforth I applied two hours later and found myself 24th on a waitlist for a class of 148. This is not a bad position, compared to the one of 54th acquired some hours after that, but it is not a good one. The assumption is made that 15% will drop the class, or in this case 22.2 persons. Meaning I shall soon be finding myself as rejected to the course, being the 1.8ths person on the list.

Writing 100 works on a rather peculiar system. In order to keep all first year writing students in one lump, and give them the most information in the least time, the class is split into 4 'tutorial' sections. Each is assigned its own teacher and subject (Poetry, creative non-fiction, fiction and drama). The four sections each contain 35 seats, which means that six people will be accepted into the course but waitlisted for the tutorials, those students will be permitted to attend tutorials. I will not. This is quite unusual, as all other faculties allow for waitlisted students to attend classes and receive handouts and information. From what I can tell the writing program has one of three opinions: only six will be shuffled in after the first class and all others ought to be ignored, 35 is the most creative people one can allow in a room at once, or the writing program is so much superior that they must prevent any student not properly enrolled from acquiring their valuable information.

For those first years reading this who happen to be on a waitlist, do not despair. What is the drop ratio? If you are the sorry individual who is 54th on the waitlist remember that almost 80% most drop before you get in, but most often you ought to have hope: everything that can be done is being done for your benefit. On the other hand, make a backup plan. What will you do if this doesn't work out? My backup plan, as writing is almost completely a pleasure course (I do need 1.5 out of 6 credits from something other than the humanities, but it is easy enough to get that elsewhere) my arrangement consisted of finding a course to fill the second semester slot. For those with serious ambitions taking other necessary classes, or even a note to the faculty might be required.