By Erin Maduck
There is only one person on this planet who possesses the ability to swiftly alter students’ moods in a matter of seconds. Although she is faceless, you know her, and you hate her. Blessed with insensitivity, selfishness, and an extremely cold heart, this woman is like the devil. The tone of her crisp voice is unforgiving, and her comments are direct. She doesn’t listen. With unwavering confidence, she only speaks, dictating our futures and scolding our pasts.
She is the telephone registration woman.
The first time I met the telephone registration woman, I naively assumed we would have a positive, give-and-take relationship throughout my university career. I would award her with my id number and personal access code, and she would tell me what I wanted to hear. It wasn’t long before I discovered that such a vision was foolish. We were not going to get along, and it would only do me great harm to care about a person who did not reciprocate the warmth. She became the enemy.
The telephone registration enemy has several despicable habits. First and foremost, she is only capable of listing the first five letters of my last name. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find this very offensive. During peak season, we call her two, sometimes even three (but never more than three) times a day. She ought to respect the fact that we do not neglect her or forget she exists. If this woman can register us in classes, churn out our final grades, and tell us what we owe, am I silly to assume that she must have the capability to remember those last few letters of our surnames? I would ask her, but she probably wouldn’t respond.
My next conflict with the enemy is perhaps, for some, the most blood curdling frustration of all: telephone registration. This task is stressful enough without the telephone registration enemy purposely messing everything up. “Your request to add Psychology 205, Lecture 01, Tutorial 03 HAS FAILED.” After I have spent an entire afternoon orchestrating my schedule, these very words echo through the receiver. Just like that. Immediately following this statement, I am lucky enough to receive a reason for the initial rejection. Although one might believe that this single-sentence explanation would be soothing, the reality is really quite different. Whether her comment is “this lecture section is full” or “this course is for majors only,” I am equally distraught. What is the point of telling me why my entire planned semester, maybe even my life, has gone to pieces when there is absolutely nothing I can do about it? And if all this isn’t terrible enough, I am convinced that “your request has failed” is stated with more cheer than “your request was successful” The telephone registration enemy is inarguably sick and twisted.
Once I have finally set up my schedule and registered for classes (all of which have lecture numbers of 91 and over because I can’t get into any of the normal lectures), I take a little break from the telephone registration enemy. I have virtually no need for her assistance when the semester is in progress, and this space between us is definitely essential. After all, I must get prepared for the greatest telephone registration disappointment of all: the quest for final grades. The weeks fly by, however, and before I know it, classes are over. The day of my last exam finally arrives, and my emotions are caught in a wave of ambiguity. Although I am excited that I can kiss Political Science 321 goodbye forever, I know it is only a matter of days before I have to begin making the phone calls.
One week later, I roll out of bed and face the inevitable. I dial the number that has tarnished my soul-I am ready to hear what the enemy has to say. I key in my information, she tells me my incomplete last name, and I take a deep breath. Her words are, “none of your final grades is available.” What does she mean, and why the hell can’t she use proper grammar? My final grades must be in, and I know she is withholding them for the sole purpose of making me sweat.
A few days later, the telephone registration enemy and I communicate with numbers again, only this time it is different-I know that she has something to say. The grades roll out, one by one, each with their own cute noun to ensure I do not hear them incorrectly. And once again, my sentiments surprise me. I am not overly upset by what she said, but more disgusted by the way she has said it. Is it really necessary for the word she associates with the letter to be so juvenile and innocent? There is nothing trivial about those grades! They determine my acceptance or rejection in a certain faculty; they spell out a piece of my future.
Okay, okay, it’s time to stop this frivolous griping. We need solutions. All of those who are strongly affected by the wrath of the telephone registration enemy can just cease use of the system. No more phone calls would automatically result in no more abuse. However, we all know that the convenience of this quick access system is irreplaceable-we need to modify the existing structure. We have to get rid of her. You see, if Grover, Scooby Doo, or Tweety Bird told us our final grades, I can guarantee that the news would be much easier to take. Even Barney would be better. However, if politics win out and we cannot completely abolish the enemy, there is a back-up solution.
I propose that phrases be used to clarify the letter grade and that these phrases compliment the true meaning behind the letter. For example, instead of “able” for A, the enemy should say “Atta-go, keener!” Rather than “Charlie” for C, the phrase should be “Could be worse” As for F, we all know that the word “fox” is just a mockery of what has actually occurred. How about, “You failed, failed, failed.” This direct recognition of reality would help us avoid the onset of paranoia.
Sometimes I dream about the day when she no longer meddles with my educational process, my well being, and my life. I dream of the day that she arrogantly utters, “F…Fox…F,” and then hears the retort that I have wanted to scald her with for so many semesters. Yeah, that’s right. Fuck you.