When trying to graduate on time is a waking nightmare

When trying to graduate on time is a waking nightmare

What’s scarier than not getting the class you need to graduate on time?

I have shed tears over an enrollment process before. After dragging myself to line up at five in the morning, I went home miserable and empty-handed, longing for a decent class schedule that I’d still try to acquire the next day. It’s a cycle — every school year, I try my best to get my desired number of units and wish that I won’t get delayed for graduation.  Like everyone else, I just want to graduate on time.

Before you wonder: No, this is not an isolated case, and yes, it happens every year. Countless admission horror stories are often likened to the Hunger Games, where one must battle it out to get a slot in a class. 

The problematic enrollment process is just one of the many instances where higher academic institutions — regardless if they’re private or public — fail to accommodate their students. The process, along with other systemic issues, like the lack of facilities and learning resources are often discussed in hushed tones, or ignored altogether. It’s sad because on top of the academic pressure, these are external factors beyond a student’s control that deter them from excelling. 

We’ve gathered stories from former and current college students about their personal encounters with the inefficiency of our education system.

 

2015 was a particularly difficult time for UP Diliman enrollment season. Classes were scarcer than usual because the freshman population was bigger than the past years. On top of that, the dorm crisis was also a problem for a lot of students. I got three units from CRS. I was in line at 6 a.m. during the three-day enrollment period, signed up for all online raffles, and even tried to befriend a couple of student assistants, just to get a class — any class — that could fill the 15-unit minimum. I remember a friend messaging me one afternoon that there were still a lot of slots for an STS (Science, Technology, and Society) class, so I power-walked from Palma Hall to Math. I got there and found around 50 other people in the lobby, all desperate for a slot. Apparently, the ‘many slots’ that my friend mentioned was really just five slots. The student assistant decided to draw lots. He collected all our IDs and picked five from the pool. I didn’t get picked.  — Bea, 23

 

I was an incoming fourth year and I had failed a class. This was a prerequisite subject to the summer that I was supposed to take my OJT, so the schedules got complicated. We had to beg for a slot for that class to open that summer so that we wouldn’t get delayed. It was a torturous process — we had to talk to several faculty members, including our dean. It even affected our enrollment and payment process for the following semester. Our last year is already hectic and overloaded as is, so it was really important that we take that subject or we risked getting delayed by more than a year or so. — KM, 22

 

I was enrolling for a summer class and my queue number was around 20. I came to school early for it but there was a system error so we had to wait and apparently I had to have some documents signed from my department for it to be approved and then manually inputted. That took way too long and my friends and I ended up being the last batch of students that day to get enrolled at around 4 p.m.  I don’t understand how system errors like that can still be overlooked when it happens every enrollment period. — Bea, 22

 

One time during enrollment we had to camp around the school at 11 p.m just so we could have a chance to finish the enrollment process by 9 a.m. We had to go back the next day. 

 

Bonus: We had a professor who loved giving 200 to 400-item quizzes. My blockmates and I took this as an opportunity to work together and get at least half of the items correctly. When the professor learned that some of us scored half of the total quiz items, he got furious and called foul play. It became a huge issue and at the end of the semester, most of the students in the class ended up failing. It even caused some scholarships to be revoked and forced a few students to transfer schools. — Gab, 25, engineer 

 

It was already the second week of classes and I was supposed to take a Spanish 2 class as I had already finished my Spanish 1 the previous semester. Note that it has to be the same language as the first. Somebody pointed out that the professor on my registration form is not a Spanish professor but a Mandarin prof. I went to the registrar and clarified it, only to be accused of lying. An employee was even rude to me and tried to push the narrative that I was switching to a different language class. They had to move my major classes which resulted in me being separated from my block. I was there for hours running around offices to clear my name and my situation. Eventually, a staff member found my name on the Spanish class list and fixed my schedule. They did not even apologize even though it was completely on them. I missed the first few days of classes and I even had to pay an additional fee for having to switch and drop my subject. — Yam, 21

 

One time super nainis kami because the school suddenly changed the mode of payments to enroll without informing the student beforehand. We just found out about it during registration so we felt pressured not to question it na kasi there were a lot of students lining up to enroll! Kaya we ended up choosing for a mode of payment na hindi kami ready for and of course had a difficult time paying. — Martha, 22

 

In the first semester of my third year in college, I had one subject that required us to visit another country. I already knew this before enrolling, but I was told by the registrar that this was optional. In my first class of that subject though, our professor, dean, and chair told us na we were all required to join the international tour. Hesitant ako at first, pero nahiya ako magtanong kasi buong block sasama (nakaka-pressure kaya). I talked to my chair and asked her what the consequences would be, and she mentioned that I might get super delayed. It really felt like I had no choice but to join the tour. So I had no option but to ask for financial help from my relatives. This was a difficult time because the requirements obligated me to reach out to my estranged father. In the end, I was the last one to complete all of the requirements. I ended up going, but it put my family in debt. — Chrisia, 21

 

I had a week-long enrollment back in 2013. The UP system was switching online enrollment platforms, and UP Manila would be the test campus — our sanity and classes be damned. Our library computers ran on 2007 Windows XP, so I wasn’t really surprised that on the first day of enrollment, no one was able to enroll. Not one student. In the entirety of the student population. It turned out that the server wasn’t able to handle the traffic, and when you’re an online enrollment platform that’s pretty much the base requirement, right? Everyone would be in school as early as 8 a.m., be told to line up to verify some info on our Jurassic school computers, and be back by 1 p.m. or 2 p.m.. At around 4 p.m., they’d announce that the system was down and that we should come back the next day — this happened for six days. Like my dude God, on the seventh day we finally got to rest (read: our classes). — Gian, 23

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