Friday, February 10, 2012


Last semester was the first semester I could enroll in classes out here in California. Unfortunately, since I was not a returning student, I was essentially last in line to get in. Meaning everyone had a chance to register before me, with the exception of other new students. What this meant was that by the time I could register for classes, everything I wanted or needed to take was already full. To the point that even the waiting lists were full. I could, at best, unofficially get on a waiting list for the waiting list but your odds of getting in at that point are about zero.

Aaron managed to get on the waiting list for SILA 305, the first class in a long line to become fluent in American Sign Language -- a class we'd been hoping to take together. I was on the waiting list for the waiting list but decided to go with him anyway. Actually going to the classes you're waiting to get into increases your chances of getting in. Usually. At the very least, it helps those actually on the waiting list to get added. Attendance and all of that.

Not in this case, however. From what I'm told, normally professors permit students on the waiting list in their classrooms up until the final day to drop the class, when many people often do. Waiting until the last minute. Once the professor knows how large or small their class actually is, they start giving add slips to the people on the waiting list. This way the people on the waiting list, who are still fairly likely to get into the class don't start out 2 weeks behind everyone else in the class. In the case of learning an entirely new language, this is especially important. Missing even 1 day of a language class puts you at a huge disadvantage.

Therefor it was a little surprising and uncharacteristic when, on the second day of class, the professor threw all of the waiting list people out of her classroom. Particularly surprising after she herself had just given us a speech about how important it was to never miss a class because you'd hopelessly fall behind. Yeah.

So last semester despite being able to enroll, I was unable to enroll. Fast forward to the beginning of this semester, I receive an email from the college that I'd be able to start registering for classes on a certain date. I knew I'd have to be on the ball so as soon as that day came, I logged into the district website and began browsing all the classes I'd want and/or need to take. When I went to add them however I was informed that I didn't just have to wait until this specific day. I also had been placed into a n arbitrary group based ont he spelling of my last name, which wouldn't be able to register until 8:00 PM. The joys of having a last name nearer the end of the alphabet, I guess.

I sat there all day, checking back just in case, watching as one-by-one my choice classes filled up. Then as the waiting lists for those classes also began filling up. I can't really convey the helpless rage I felt in words other than saying, "I felt helpless rage," so I won't try fancying it up for you guys. It was dumb and I was displeased about it.

By the time my group was eligible to register every class I wanted was full and so were their (colorful expletive deleted) waiting lists. With the exception of Art History -- the latest class available. I snatched the class anyway, despite my narcolepsy because being enrolled in at least 1 class this semester would make me eligible for early enrollment next semester. I'd be one of the cool kids, not the hobo fighting the other hobos for class scraps in the dark.

I planned on speaking with my professor about perhaps getting into one of his earlier classes, to avoid the late night walks to campus in the dark and any troubles I'd have with staying awake at that hour in a poorly lit lecture hall being talked at for 2 and a half hours. Turns out though, I actually thoroughly enjoy the later class. The class size is small, meaning I don't need to compete for his attention should I need it, and I never have to worry about finding an appropriate place to sit. Which is important for a deaf lip-reader who always forgets her glasses. I need to be front and center. Anywhere else and it just won't do.

The next day I decided to accompany Aaron to his ASL class, the one class I really, really wanted to get into. He had gotten in outright, I however wasn't even on the waiting list (again). I was not thrilled about going, to be honest I thought after our last experience that it would be a complete waste of my time. Much to my surprise, when we arrived there were still several open seats. In the other class, taught by the other instructor, there were no extra seats at all. So this seemed like a good sign to me.

The professor seemed overall better at his job as well. There is no vocalization in an ASL class, but even so, he managed to express himself well enough to always get his point across even though none of us knew any signs yet. During the class he paused to ask if any of us were on the waiting list, when a few raised their hands he told them to see him after class. Then he asked if there were any people not actually on the waiting list. When I raised my hand I half-expected to be dismissed from the classroom. Instead he told me to see him after class as well. I'll freely admit I set myself up for disappointment by being totally psyched.

As soon as the class ended I went up to him and without a second thought he crossed someone off of the waiting list, had me write my name there instead, and then gave me their add slip. Maybe it was because he noticed my hearing aid and realized I actually needed the class, or maybe the person whose name he crossed off simply hadn't bothered showing up and he appreciated my initiative? I don't really know, but I was tremendously grateful.

So now I'm enrolled in two courses this semester: Art History, which is taught by a man who studied film with Al Pacino; and SILA 305, which is taught by an amazingly enthusiastic deaf man. It takes up a good chunk of time, between classes 4 days/nights a week and assignments, but I'm glad to be doing it. If my blogs seem shorter and my art uploads seem less frequent, you at least know it's because of my education and not Starwars. Which I suppose may or may not be a good thing, depending on who you are and just how nerdy you want me to be.

1 comment:

  1. That's so awesome! I had caught lil bits and pieces but it's gotta feel great taking classes you are actually interested in/need. Every time I try to enroll they're all "Oooh, how about this math and that Advanced English Comp." and I that's where my eyes glaze over! I super happy for you!

    What is this "Starwars?" you speak of? It's that some Facebook thing or maybe it's just a cool thing California kids do?