The first day of classes is difficult enough for first-years, who must navigate an unfamiliar campus, juggle heavy textbooks, and plan their class schedules.
But when course registration on SSOL went down for several hours Tuesday afternoon, it was a first-year nightmare come true.
It’s unknown what caused the outage—which, according to Columbia University Information Technology, lasted from 2:12 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.—but it’s clear that the disruption disgruntled many students who wanted to add, drop, or switch classes, or take advantage of the recently-added and much heralded WishList and WaitList features.
“I couldn’t find where any of my classes were,” Chris George, CC ’17, said. Because online schedules weren’t accessible, he said he ended up sitting in a physics class instead of general chemistry.
Brooke Severson, CC ’17, said the outage was “frustrating,” as she wanted to drop, then add, a class on the WaitList.
“I literally spent my entire day refreshing it,” her friend, Maya Kapelnikova, CC ’17, said.
Kapelnikova was still trying to get into classes that were already full, but due to the outage she had no clue when somebody was dropping a course she wanted to add.
The fact that many popular classes were fully registered the first day, however, meant some dejected students didn’t even bother trying to log onto SSOL.
“Considering the classes I wanted were full, I wasn’t checking it that much,” Samantha Trabucco, CC ’17, said. “I didn’t notice it being down because I was so annoyed.”
Students with earlier registration periods also escaped the scheduling nightmare, provided they completed their changes early.
“I managed to get my stuff done before it went down,” Emily Man, CC ’17, said. “But I know people that are very, very mad.”
Though upperclassmen did not experience as much difficulty with the outage as first-year students, they sympathized nonetheless.
“Most of the people who are stressed out are freshmen,” Chloe Blanchard, SEAS ’16 and vice president of the Engineering class of 2016 council, said. “That’s the worst, because they are already so stressed out about everything.”
Jenny Tang, CC ’16, said that while she wasn’t affected by the outage, students should think of it as a “blessing in disguise.”
“Having an extra afternoon … allows them to more carefully consider the classes they wanted to take,” she said.
But few saw it that way. George said the experience made it a “bad first day,” while Man said the experience confirmed the negative reputation she had heard about Columbia’s bureaucracy and administration.
For Kapelnikova, not getting the classes she wanted brought up a slightly different problem.
“I’m just thinking, should I do my homework or should I not?” she said. “Because I’m still thinking of changing my classes.”