Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Getting Into a Night Class

I haven't made much mention of it because it's been an epic struggle just to pull it off but I've started taking another class now. Math again. This time Calculus. Which means it just got that much harder to properly Frenzy. It's a compact 8 week course that's going to last until the end of August. Meets pretty much every weeknight. So there's going to be plenty of studying and homework to sap away at my word count.

Just registering was a hassle. I did so back at the beginning of the month, because I'm paranoid about stuff like that when I can be arsed but for some reason the system had a hiccup and I was mysteriously unregistered. I didn't find out until sometime last week and, admittedly, I left it to the last minute but when I went to register again, the system refused to recognize me. It took e-mails and calls back and forth to the office to finally figure out that my Social Security number, used as a password of sorts for the registration system, was somehow deleted from my account. Then to get it appended back into my account so I could finally use the telephone and web systems since I couldn't make it down to campus to register in person.

Then, when I went to register, I found that the course I wanted to take was full. Not just my first choice but my second and third and fourth and fifth one, too. All of them. I only have a small window to take the classes in, of course, with my hectic schedule of odd jobs and looking for work so that pretty much exhausted my options. This being the local community college, of course, there's nothing like a wait list.

Still, I wasn't going to give up like that and began to desperately call the registration office and the department and the professor seeing what, if anything I could do to get into the class. Turns out there is a way – they have something called an override where you can get a teacher to sign a piece of paper and put themselves over their class limit, if they feel like it. And I duly went down to the campus and tried to obtain one. Problem was, I was about the twentieth person to have that idea. Twenty on top of the already nearly forty who'd registered for the class. The teacher pretty much told all us hopefuls milling around the first day of class waiting to get our papers signed that he wasn't going to be authorizing any overrides. Out of luck again.

But not out of determination. Remembering what happened with my last class – the first day it was packed with students but as it wore on, even by the second session, plenty had dropped out – and acting on some advice from a friendly staffer, I decided to wait and see if anyone dropped the class. That would free up a slot and allow me to register. I went home and waited a bit, figuring the class would have to get out and someone would have to go home, themselves, and decide it wasn't for them before I could do anything. I checked the online service once but no luck.

Then, I called up my mother since I'd missed the weekly phonecall home what with all the excitement of the weekend (To be fair, we did see each other on Sunday at my aunt's party, but, you know, I'm a good boy and all. Or at least I try to be.) and because I had nothing better to do with my nerves. I, for whatever reason, made the mistake of mentioning to her that I hadn't gotten into the class and we had one of those talks. The ones that start, “Well, if that's what you want to do with your life...” and go downhill from there. I hung up the phone dejected and depressed, about ready to give up on going to school for that night. But in a fit of pique, determined to show my mother that, dammit, I'm at least trying here, I checked the online registration one last time.

And there it was.

One space open.

Thirty odd people registered and one slot open. Just waiting for me. I couldn't click through the brief registration process quickly enough. But I got it. And pumped my fist in the air when I was done. Never been so excited to have to pay for classes before.

Just in case you think my luck has completely turned around today was my first real night of class. I stopped home to grab a quick bite to eat and raced to campus as quickly as I could in order to get to the bookstore before class. I'd called them up earlier in the day and they said they had a few textbooks left and what with the compressed schedule, I figured it would be a good thing to have so I could get studying as soon as possible. They were sold out by the time I got there.

Still, as I've mentioned before, this being a small school they were very helpful, checking in the back and trying to be as helpful as possible. Even checked when the latest shipment would be coming in for me – should be sometime this week and they'll reserve a copy for me and call me when it comes in.

My luck isn't completely awful, though. You see, this teacher is an honest to goodness native-born American (Which in the Math and Sciences is really rare. Look, I don't mind if someone wants to come to overseas and get a slice of that fat teacher's pay. More power to them. But when someone's giving me a lecture, I like to be able to understand them. That's a lot easier when they not only speak the language fluently but have a sense of the idioms and patois.). My luck being what it is, though, he still has a peculiar accent. I haven't managed to place it yet but it's something with a slightly Southern tang - his rather sing-song delivery makes it hard to tell.

Good to get into class, though. Good to be thinking again. It's going to be hard work – my first test is only a mere 10 days away already – but time spent learning is never misspent.

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