Gabrielle Friedman: A registration nightmare

I expected the ridiculous numerology that took traditional course reference numbers hostage would make the already painful process of 7 a.m. registration even worse. Little did I know that those annoying, nonsensical numbers would be the least of my worries.

On the morning of my registration it was 7 o’clock on the dot and I was still locked out of GWeb. Another minute of unsuccessful login attempts passed and before I knew it, it was 7:05 a.m. In the darkness of the early morning all my computer spouted back was the infamous message, “HTTP/1.1 Service Unavailable.”

Talk about déj? vu.

For those of you who are fortunate enough to not understand the aforementioned disaster, students went through these same registration woes last year. Despite my frustration with the system, I regained my cool, telling myself that it would work again in a few minutes just like it did last year.

Once I finally gained access to the system at 7:10 a.m., the relief that washed over me was interrupted by the screams of my roommates. We had finally gotten into GWeb, but once we typed a CRN and clicked submit, we were logged out. And this didn’t happen once, it happened at least five times.

The University needs to understand that registration is an inherently stressful process. We all have general curriculum requirements we need to fulfill and we are fighting hundreds of students for a small number of spots. Though we spend hours trying to perfect our schedules by planning classes around jobs and internships and ensuring we are on track to graduate, our efforts all come crashing down on registration day.

The culprit is clear: technology. Last year, ISS Marketing and Communications Manager Rachel Blevins blamed a “service outage” for the problems students experienced with logging into GWeb during registration. But isn’t it time the University learn from its mistakes? How many more students need to experience the overwhelming stress of waking up before sunrise only to find that their best efforts to get into their classes are trampled by the heartbreaking crash of GWeb?

The University should either invest in a better server that can handle the traffic or split registration up into time shifts so a limited number of students would be accessing the server at any given time. This would allow students to pick specific times that fit their schedules to register and in order to ensure fairness, only an equal fraction of the spots would be available to each time slot. On the surface, this may seem far more complex than the free-for-all system we have now, but until the University can acquire a server that can handle all of the students who need to access GWeb to register for class, it is the only fair solution.

Registration is essential, but so far the University has treated it like it is just too costly and time-consuming to tackle since it has made no efforts to better the system.

GW needs to address the basics before we venture out to the auxiliaries.

In the meantime, students will continue to dread registration as if it were a trip to the dentist – excruciatingly painful and tedious all at the same time. We deserve better and it is time the University takes the initiative to finally correct something that students have brought to its attention time and time again.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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