Orientation: check. First week of classes: check. Mid-terms: check. Now that three of the first milestones of the first semester have passed, there’s another to deal with — registering for next semester’s classes.
And if you are a Macalester student, you probably already know this because you think about the future—all the time. But at least registering for classes is just dealing with the immediate future. You don’t have to decide what to major in, or figure out what you’re doing this summer or decide which fellow Mac student you’ll be marrying in six to eight years. You don’t need to write any vows yet, you just need to write a class schedule.
Although registration begins on the 14th, first years get the last pick of classes, from the 28th through December 2nd. It’s a little bit like picking teams for dodgeball, and being the last one chosen for a team.
But registration isn’t nearly as mortifying as the dodgeball games from middle school PE class — mostly because even though we are the last ones chosen, we do have a say in what classes we join. Even as the slots dwindle down, it is possible to still make it into that class with negative three spots left.
Kristijan Peev ’19 suggested getting on the waiting list now if you know that there’s a class you absolutely have to (or want to) be in by emailing the professor and asking to be put on the list. “And make sure you show up on the first day of the class,” Peev said. “Show up, and keep coming back, so the professor knows you’re interested. If you talk to the professor about it and they know you really want to be there, they might make an exception for you.”
But before even getting on a waiting list or plotting your way into that topic course with only 16 spots, meet with your adviser. They have the magical six-digit pin number that is the secret to unlocking all of registration. Plus, advisers can help you choose classes that will fulfill graduation requirements and maybe even major requirements, if you have your life together enough to have already declared your double major and minor and concentration.
There is a chance, however, that you aren’t sure what you’re majoring in. There is also a chance that maybe, you don’t even know if you want to pursue something in the humanities or the sciences. If that’s you, then join the club. But Peev, who declared math and econ majors after his first semester at Mac, said, “See what you like, and discover what you want early on, but take a lot of different classes in the beginning. You’ll get introduced to different points of view and frameworks of knowledge. Even if you don’t like a class, then at least you can move on from there and discover something new.”
It’s a process — deciding what classes to take doesn’t mean you’re deciding what to major in, it just means you’re in the midst of figuring it out. And you might be surprised what you end up being interested in. A few departments at Mac, like the Geography and Geology departments, have been said to lure people in from the introductory classes — once you take a class in the department, you never stop.
But of course, if you don’t get all the classes you want, there are three more years for you to figure it out. Peev mentioned, “academics are important, and we think about the future a lot, but know that you’re only 18 or 19 once, so try to enjoy the present as much as you think about the future.”