A Fresh View: Registering for New Classes

Hi everyone! My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I’ll be your correspondent for A Fresh View this year. This column will chronicle some of my experiences as a freshman at Brown, and will include the highs and lows of that incredible journey.

Welcome back, friends!

It feels so surreal, but it’s already that time of the year – we have to pick what classes to register for next semester. It’s a weird experience to know that my first year is essentially over and I’ll be a sophomore next semester. Please pause for the inevitable panic attack.

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I am not ready… at all…

I thought that at some point, the whole “college” thing would have clicked and I would have figured my life out by now, but that really hasn’t happened – I’m still confused, unsure, and anxious. But that’s still okay, because despite my expectations, there really isn’t ever a time where everything suddenly clicks and you know what you’re doing. I’m sure plenty of our parents have existential crises when they wake up in the morning about what they’re doing with their lives and whether they’re going to make good decisions that day. So don’t be too hard on yourself about making hard decisions – nobody said that they’d be easy, and it’s okay to be unsure.

On that note, I’d like to talk briefly about choosing classes for next semester, and what you should and maybe shouldn’t be focused on when filling up your cart.

  1. Keep in mind that your sophomore year is still a chance for you to explore. You can and should take classes in different departments to see what interests you – don’t be afraid to take introductory level courses in new fields of study.
  2. giphy2Remember that shopping period is a great tool come the actual beginning of the semester. Shopping a class tends to give you a really precise measurement for whether you’ll like the class or not, and it’s totally okay to change your mind about taking a class once you’ve shopped it.
  3. Some classes are only offered one semester – while it is a little early to completely plan out the semester after next, if a class is only offered in fall term or spring term, whereas another class is offered in both spring and fall, you may want to take that into consideration.
  4. Even if you know what you want to concentrate in, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Don’t think too extensively about fulfilling concentration requirements when registering for classes – again, this is still a time to explore different options and take classes in different areas. Look for things that interest you!
  5. Discuss your options with your advisers. Your faculty advisers and Meiklejohn peer advisers will reach out to you to set up meetings to make sure that you’re all set in terms of registering (they’ll also give you a PIN that you need in order to register so make sure you actually show up for an advising meeting). Ask them about any concerns or reservations that you might have – they are there to help!
  6. Wake up early! Registration typically starts at 8 AM so make sure you’re up, at the tumblr_o2jvokszet1sa8164o1_500very least, at 7:55 AM with your cart in order and everything set so that you can register. First years sort of get the bottom of the barrel when it comes to registration because we get to pick classes after our upperclassmen counterparts have chosen, but now at least we get to beat the incoming pre-frosh to the punch.
  7. If you don’t get to register for a class that you really want to be in, it’s not the end of the world. If a class you wanted is closed when you go to register for it, you can always a) aggressively shop it anyways to let the professor know that you’re really interested, or b) write the professor many emails to beg them for a spot. But don’t be rude about any of these strategies – keep it professional and respectful. If the instructor makes it clear that they will not be offering spots to additional students, then don’t push your luck. You can always ask them if they’ll be teaching the class again and try again in the future when you have a higher semester level.

Hopefully this advice is useful for pre-registration for courses for sophomore year. The logic holds pretty much the same for registering for courses for the very first time as well, but regardless – if you have questions, reach out. There are tons of avenues of support that Brown provides, especially for first years, so do not hesitate to contact people and get your worries assuaged.

That’s all from me this week folks – let me know if there’s something in particular you’d like me to cover next week! Because it’s ADOCH next week and lots of you lovely folks will be visiting campus in a few days, maybe I’ll talk about why I chose Brown?

Regardless, I hope you all have a great time if you come to ADOCH and if you want to meet, hit me up at my email and I’d love to hang out with you and chat.


This week in listening: “Transistor Original Soundtrack” by Darren Korb. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been really digging game soundtracks these days.

Bonus listening song for nostalgia purposes: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles. Gets me right in the feels every time.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! You can reach me at jee_won_kang@brown.edu.


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