Stress of early registration

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Just because you fill in your calendar doesn’t mean you have your life together. Behnam Nourouzi via Unsplash

Stress and uncertainty alongside a glimmer of hope for normal life

by halyna mihalik, contributor

Much to the surprise of University of Regina students, upon checking our emails in the past couple of weeks it had been announced that course registration for the upcoming winter semester will be pushed forward by an entire month. Registration in previous years began in November, much closer to the end of the fall semester. This year, course registration opened at the beginning of October, only a month into the new academic year and a full month ahead of schedule.

Having course registration begin so close to the winter semester allowed for administration to have completely finalized details on course dates, times, and locations. Now with COVID, there is another important element to prepare for – whether courses will be delivered remotely, in person, or as a hi-flex option. It may be too early to decide how classes should be offered until we see improvements in our COVID numbers.

Anxiety is rising with course selection starting earlier this year. If covid cases are as high as ever, how can the school ensure a safe transition back to the campus environment? If cases continue as they are, it may be safer to continue remote learning, but it’s still too early to say which will be the better option.

Personally, I find the situation to be worrisome. When planning for course registration it appears that four out of the five classes I’m registered for will be offered in person. As someone who doesn’t live in Regina yet, this means big changes coming my way, and soon. I will be moving to a city where I don’t know anyone and am unfamiliar with my way around. If the campus closed again, it would be a very difficult time alone in a new city. If COVID cases continue rising as they are now, the courses we are choosing may be changed back to online before the winter semester begins.

However, the University of Regina has put in place many safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID and ensure everyone is able to make this transition a safe one. Masks are mandatory at the campus and must be always worn, and you must show proof of vaccination. If you aren’t vaccinated for any reason, the school will be conducting regular COVID tests and requiring negative results for those unvaccinated to be present on campus grounds.

In a certain way, the earlier registration does benefit me as it provides an extra month for me to find an apartment in preparation for the second semester. There are many kids from my classes who come from out of town, so I’m certain the administration took this into account when making their decision. Furthermore, many students have most likely widened their work or volunteer schedules due to the flexibility of asynchronous learning. This way, students are offered ample amounts of time to reorganize their schedules and provide adequate notice to the other places that they are committed to.

If things go smoothly with the return of students to campus, this could be a turning point for the mental health of many students and staff. The isolation of online school has felt suffocating at times. I’m already in my second year, and still haven’t managed to make a friend due to the detached setting of zoom classes and asynchronous learning, which has been incredibly lonely. Not only that but asking for help on an assignment means emailing back and forth multiple times with your professor instead of them being able to explain any question you may have in person. For a lot of students, their grades may see vast improvements.

This means that now more than ever, there needs to be a strong community presence within the University of Regina. There are two years of students who may have never stepped foot on campus, so there will be quite a big transition period. But having classes in person and perhaps even some clubs will help students meet one another and bring back a strong sense of community. 

Campus life starting back up again brings with it an air of excitement. We can only hope that the administration has not spoken too soon, and that courses will be able to be delivered safely in person as planned. Choosing courses so soon leaves the opportunity for many things to change on a dime making the experience stressful for all involved. However, hopefully seeing the chance to be in person among your peers will provide people the motivation they need to keep pushing through to the end of the year.

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