An Evaluation of Student Priorities

Features Editor,
Simone Spilka

You frantically schedule an appointment with an academic advisor and discuss the lower and upper division requirements needed for next quarter in order to graduate in four years. You leave the meeting feeling confident in the course list they’ve helped select and excited to have an opportunity to take interesting classes outside of your major. Because of taking the initiative to pre-select your course load and receive a stamp of approval from an advisor, the week leading up to your first pass-time is stress-free.

But then the harsh reality of the GOLD system strikes back. Half of the pre-selected from your list of general education classes are completely full or closed. Without options for backups, the only viable option is to sign up for the first available spaces to ensure enough credits. No time to browse descriptions, no time for suggestions from friends, and no time for because the students who are given early-priority registration have already enrolled in the most sought-after classes.

While athletes, honor students and disabled students all have justifiable reason to get into the courses they desire with ease, so does the rest of the student body. Athletes have practices that understandably require mandatory attendance, thus, they must revolve class around this time schedule. Their dedication to a school activity is honorable, but that is not to say that most students also have outside commitments, whether it be a job, internship, religious organization or club. Daily schedules are filled with a work shift or meeting. As with a sports team, it’s not acceptable to ditch a shift, even with the valid excuse of “I have class.”

My position as The Bottom Line Features Editor, a responsibility I take on for the greater good of the University of California Santa Barbara community, takes time away from my studies. Our staff members and editorial board have to consciously pick classes that do not coincide with our meetings. So, my question then is, why does UCSB honor one student’s priority and not another? And who makes the recommendation to value one busy schedule over the next? I do agree that disabled students have every right to advantages, without a doubt, but I wonder why it must be at the expense of their fellow peers’ education.

Frustration is just one factor, and one that I’ve learned to deal with over the past years of scouring waitlists, crashing classes and emailing teachers, but with the budget cuts and tuition increases, economics now takes precedence over my personal aggregation. It’s discouraging when you can’t get into the classes you want to take for pleasure, but it’s thousands of dollars when you can’t enroll in the classes you need to graduate. In this aspect, I’m thankful to have signed up for my final quarter of classes here at UCSB, however, I’ll be the first person to admit that is one of the only reasons I’m looking forward to finishing up my time here at Santa Barbara.