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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Overcoming post-enrollment stress

DTH Photo Illustration. Registering for classes can be dissapointing.

Ah, the righteous semi-annual affair that rivals the insanity of a Macy’s Black Friday Sale: course enrollment. 

This event takes place strictly online for the physical health and safety of all academically-driven minds here at UNC.

Unless you are a senior embarking on your last semester at UNC-Chapel Hill, or have some niche major like geology, chances are your cortisol levels are slightly elevated during this time. 

The enrollment slot bestowed upon you is determined by how many credit hours you have previously taken. The more hours you have, the sooner your enrollment date will be. 

However, for those who have received any AP or Dual-Enrolled credit, these hours don’t help you out. For enrollment purposes only, these credits are blacklisted. So yeah, that sharp elbow you just suffered from the lady next to you in this Black Friday rush put you at the back of the line.  

Your laptop must be fully charged. The shopping cart must be full of your desired course options – and your desperate ones. You are staring at a ticking clock watching the little hand in its last few instances of rotation as the moment of truth abruptly approaches.

The doors swing open and complete chaos commences. 

Your mouse shifts to press the next button before the page has time to refresh. You arrive at the final destination only to be hit with the gut-wrenching: “SOLD OUT.”  The devious red box and yellow triangle appearing on your screen dilate your pupils and drench your soul in complete and utter defeat. 

It's over. Someone else was faster. You stand there with slouched shoulders as you watch someone else skip to the register with your flat-screen TV. You turn, and in a dim light, you see the dinky toaster sitting with all the other rejects. Begrudgingly, you pick up the sad toaster and shuffle your feet to the register. 

In other words, see you at 8 a.m. That is, if you’re one of the lucky ones.

You heard me. Be grateful for your dinky toaster.

The unlucky have nothing but empty shelves within miles of reach. The thoughts to follow wreak of stress and anxiety: “How will I graduate on time? How will I get the prerequisites for the track I’m on? Should I change my major to get into classes?” 

Okay, stop it. This is not a race, it's a marathon. Black Friday does not end at 12:02 a.m. There is still time. 

This is coming from the girl who had a 4:00 p.m. enrollment time and, at 4:03 p.m., was browsing the UNC catalog for potential majors after not receiving a single green circle. That's right, I am enrolled in zero classes and I'm going on my fourth semester at UNC. 

Hence, on Black Friday, I’m the girl with a black eye and footprints running down the back of my clothes. 

Okay, you didn’t get into classes the way you were “supposed” to — the “normal” way — also known as the “easy” way, where life is perfect and filled with gumdrops and sunshine. Now we get to exercise a life skill that will set you apart in the years to come. When the system makes you fold, don’t let it. Swim against the current. 

This is what you (and it looks like me, too) will do.

After icing our wounds and not letting our scars embody our fate, we will get up and try again. The hard way.

We will scope out those flaky souls during open enrollment that are currently and hesitantly taking a spot that is rightfully yours. They will drop, you just have to be there to claim your spot when they do. 

When all else fails, send emails. Show up to a lecture and ask the professor what you can do to ensure your spot in their class. 

None of this is guaranteed. I promise nothing. But admitting defeat is unacceptable. Fight for your passion, you’ve made it this far. 

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And if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for the child that used to wear a lab coat around the house, dreaming of the day they’d step into an operating room. Do it for them.