Instead Of Panicking, Approach Enrollment Week This Way

Dominique Kent/Contributing Writer

It’s the first week of November, and classes open Tuesday, Nov. 5. You have five email windows open simultaneously – two desperate emails to your advisor, a request for a letter of recommendation, a request to meet with your professor and an email to the Division of Information Technology because you can’t access your health center portal.

Some people might not relate this, but for others (guilty), this is a spot-on depiction of their typical Tuesday evening. 

Why is it that people at FIU seem to disappear right when you need them? Why is it that so many emails go unanswered? Well, there’s actually a good reason for that. And it’s simpler than I thought. The answer? I’ve been approaching things the wrong way. 

In times like these, it seems you can email and email all you want, but nobody is ever going to reply. That’s dramatic. Your professors will most likely email back. Your advisor will take three weeks and another five follow-up emails, but they will also, eventually, email back. IT will never email you back. This is a lost cause. Abandon that hope now, it will make life easier in the long run.

I’ll admit, I’m a marathon emailer. I’ve sent my advisor five or more emails in a single day. One time, when my advisor didn’t get back to me fast enough, I sent an email to every other advisor in the department. Every. Single. One. I didn’t receive one reply. I did receive an exasperated phone call from my advisor a few hours later, but I might have earned that one.

I’m also a transfer student, so I don’t yet have the experience with FIU culture that my upperclassmen peers do. One senior told me to go above my advisor and keep going above the people who aren’t replying until someone finally does. I spent the afternoon researching President Rosenberg’s personal email before giving up. 

I’ve also been informed not to hold out hope for a response from my advisor. If I want an answer, I need to make an appointment.

That’s where I had to pause. An appointment? Really? Instead of sending my advisor three emails a day, you want me to go in and talk to her? Like a person? 

In my spam email attacks, I had never considered that I might be taking the time and attention of a real, frazzled, overworked individual doing her very best to meet my demands. I need to pick my classes, add a certificate program and make sure I’m going to graduate on time. She needs to make sure the same thing happens—for all the students in her caseload.

Here’s the deal: people have lives. Contrary to (my) popular belief, advisors, IT people, health center personnel and staff can’t actually work 24 hours a day. When classes are about to start, or registration is about to begin, or add/drop dates are about to close – that’s when these people are probably receiving hundreds or thousands of desperate requests. When I go to see my advisor, the waiting room is almost always full. When I call the health center, they often sound as if they’ve already gone through ten equally frantic phone calls over the last hour.

I’m a panicker. I am not the kind of person to stop and think before trying to find other people to panic with me. I think many students can say the same. But during times like these, when classes have just opened, registration for Spring is going strong, flu season is upon us and finals are around the corner, do we ever stop to think that maybe our faculty and staff are panicking too?

Since we’re all in the same crazy, tumultuous, frantic boat together, I think it’s time for us (me) to find a little understanding for the people who work hard to make our lives easier.

And next time? I’m just going to make an appointment. 

Featured photo from FIU Flickr.

 

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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