I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I get the routine notification that my pass time is coming up, my heart drops into my stomach a little. This is not because I am nervous that I won’t succeed in my classes or that I am disinterested in my major subject. No, this is because the nightmare of signing up for classes has actively dampened nights and days because of the battle between me, Gold, and endlessly full classes.
It is no secret that UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) has had issues with classes, whether it be professors and teaching assistants striking because of unfair pay (as we are currently witnessing) or there being class shortages with too many students wanting certain courses. There is a reason that most often the advice given by professors, advisors, or even other students is to crash a class. But that cannot be sustained in a university that is increasing in size without proper systems in place to mitigate this.
That brings us to the topic of pass times. While UCSB has long had a system of pass times, recently changing the system to only allow ten units to be added in the first pass, this system is one that is designed to favor the “first” on first come first served. The first are, of course, seniors, then juniors, and so on, as well as athletes, students in the major of whatever class you are trying to add, and double majors. Basically, there is a long list of students the school gives priority to over me. Understandably, but nonetheless most definitely frustrating.
As a sophomore, I have a later pass time than many of my friends and other students in my major, due to who knows why. The pass time system makes me want to rip my hair out as I watch classes dwindle in availability waiting for even just my first pass. Additionally, as a film and media studies major, the more creative and, what I would argue to be more fun classes, are near to impossible to get into. Screenwriting? No shot. Production? You wish. Even a pornography studies class? Don’t even think about it. It is defeating every quarter.
This frustration and defeat, however, really come into play with major requirements. How can one meet the college expectation of exploring diverse interests by taking classes across the board, as well as class requirements to progress in a major, when there are limited courses offered each quarter, most already full before you get the chance to add them? As many people find themselves in this same boat, crashing becomes much more difficult.
While this may just be the way the insanely dry cookie crumbles, quite frankly as an out-of-state student, this is not what I thought I would be paying for. If UCSB is going to keep admissions where they are, while not designating enough pay to teaching assistants and professors to give them the resources to maintain larger class sizes, and not hiring more academic teachers to add classes to the course list, then something else needs to change within this system.
I wish it was as easy as to say that we just need more classes and thus more teachers, but obviously, there is another issue that lies at the root of that claim. UCSB does not want to pay more to their academic teachers.
Where I take personal issue with that is in questioning where my tuition dollars are going. To the chancellors — seeing as how Chancellor Yang is getting a 28.4 percent pay raise ($579,750 per year) starting in March of this academic year? To the advisors that tell me they can’t help me get into a class and that my best bet is to try crashing? To professors’ research? Or how about Munger Hall, a new dorm being built with no windows and that students got little say in?
Undergraduate students pay the tuition that universities need to keep afloat. But wouldn’t that make us the customers like any other business system? And if we are the academic customers in a way, why wouldn’t the school want to house systems to help ensure our success — or, if we are continuing with the business metaphors, our satisfaction guaranteed? In that case, I am one unhappy customer.