at the U of Minnesota used to be a big deal. Seniors then Juniors got first chance, and so on. Some classes were offered only once a year, and were prerequisites for other courses also only offered once a year. Missing enrollment for one class could delay your graduation. Registration also involved a lot of standing in line. Usually when you tried to register, the clerk would send you to department A in another building to stand in line to clarify something. But Department A couldn't help you with that - they sent you to another building to stand in line to talk with someone from Department B. Department B told you that your issue was something the registration clerk should know how to handle. So back to registration you went. You told the clerk again what you wanted, and mentioned that you had just been to departments A and B. "Oh", they would say , and then bureaucratically register you without complaint. I swear to God this happened to me dozens of times.

I had already graduated from the U with a degree in Chemical Engineering. I graduated when many companies had hiring freezes due to poor economic conditions. I worked for Arthur Anderson doing data entry, and then sold suits for 3 months. Finally, I decided to go back to school. My grades weren't good enough for grad school. I petitioned the U of Minnesota for a dual degree. That sounded cool to me - a dual degree - and I knew another guy who had done it. I was accepted back to the U in the Electrical Engineering degree program. I was told a few years later that somebody screwed up. Undergraduate engineering degrees are supposed to be one to a customer. If the person who approved my dual degree application had realized I had already graduated, I would never have been accepted again. For once, incompetence at the U worked in my favor.

I knew that it was important for me to get the classes I needed when I started back as an EE. So I called long distance to try and find out when I could register. I called Lind hall and the woman there kept trying to reach the registration building. Finally, she told me she had to do something else, and she gave me the secret number for the registration folks. I called it, and the woman who answered immediately asked who I got the number from. "From Lind Hall", I told her innocently. I explained my need to get into the right sequential courses. "If you EVER tell anyone I registered you by phone ....", she said. She then proceeded to register me. Now you probably register via the web. But ask anyone who went to the U in the 70's or 80's about what a pain registering for classes was, and they will be amazed somebody did it via a phone call - long distance to boot!


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