[Campus commentary]A future that hinges on a mouse click

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[Campus commentary]A future that hinges on a mouse click

On the day of enrollment for spring courses, I woke up at 7 in the morning.
Nowadays in most universities, course enrollments are done through the Internet. Since enrollment is on a “first-come, first-served” basis, it is really important to do it as fast as you can. Your mouse-clicking ability can determine whether or not you survive the semester.
To make sure I had the fastest Internet connection, I went to a PC room.
There were already many students there who like me had come for the same purpose. I decided on the order of the classes to click on, choosing the most important requirements and the amount of competition to get into each class. Timing is also very important. Since the Internet server cannot cope with tens of thousands of log-ins and mice clicking at once, the server could freeze when you click at the very same moment as others on the same target. A split-second in the moment you click on something can make a big difference in your results.
It was 9 a.m., the moment of reckoning.
It’s a war; it’s a gamble. In a few seconds, everything is decided. Some students let out a cheer when they got into the classes they wanted, while others panicked. Sometimes it is not just a matter of failing to get into the course you want but realizing you can’t get into a class required to graduate. When there are not enough places available in the required class, one might have to wait another semester. It is a big loss for a student. There is no one else to blame for not having good clicking skills or luck.
The new semester has started. The weather is getting warmer little by little, and freshmen are still walking on air, reveling in their new campus life. Of course, it’s still just March. However, for some, campus life is not always as happy. Student governments are protesting against the hike in tuition fees, which are rising much faster than the inflation rate. People who blew their course enrollment wander from class to class, trying to find a way to make their semester count.
These days, universities are competing to develop both domestically and internationally. To get ahead of the competition, they have many things keeping them busy: building nice facilities, hiring professors and installing better systems, to name a few. In an article I was editing for the March issue of the Yonsei Annals on universities’ efforts to improve their school facilities, I saw that schools were very busy trying to improve their image in the media. Of course, these are very important.
However, the most important duty of a university is to make school a good place for learning. That is their main purpose.
To achieve this goal, the first step is to ensure that students can get into the courses they need and want.
Course enrollment should not be like a lottery. Students will be able to put forth their best efforts when able to study the courses they want and need. If not, they will think their expensive tuition fees are being wasted for no reason. This is a fundamental right of students who enter college.
The thought that my future hinges upon a single mouse click is just too much to bear.

*The writer is a reporter for the Yonsei Annals news magazine of Yonsei University.

BY An Na-hyun
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