By HEBANI DUGGAL
I hate pre-enroll. I hate it more than I hate pulled pork, and I hate pulled pork enough to walk from Becker dining hall every time a whiff of the substance comes anywhere near me. Pre-enroll is one of those things everyone seems to do in their own way. Some people, for example, will head to bed early, get a good night’s sleep and wake up in time to get through pre-enroll, grab breakfast, and get an early start to their day. Other people tend to do things a little differently. They might proceed to stay up until 5 a.m., get an hour and a half of sleep, grumpily enroll in classes at 7 a.m., and then crawl back into bed, trying to squeeze in a couple more hours of sleep before their first class. Note: It’s 4 a.m., and pre-enroll is in 3 hours, and I am typing away so I think it’s pretty easy to safe to say I will not be grabbing breakfast to get a head start on my day tomorrow morning.
I’m not sure why pre-enroll tops my list of things I hate more than a lot of other things. As tempted as I am to write it off as my hatred for all things that force me to wake up before noon, there is definitely something more to why pre-enroll is as daunting to me as it is. I personally think it has a lot to do with this idea I have (and I’m convinced many others have) that pre-enroll decides how the entirety of your upcoming semester is going to go. This idea that the classes you place hurriedly into your shopping cart at 7:05 a.m. on some random day, the classes you think you might like or you might ace or might help you decide what to do with you, will do all of that and more. Pre-enroll is, in a sense, a five-minute period that feels like it determines countless of work, far too many stress wrinkles and all of your sacred remaining GPA points.
Of course, the crucial word of that last sentence is my ex-boyfriend’s least favorite: feels. While certainly important and worth sacrificing some amount of sleep, pre-enroll is not the end-all, be-all it pretends to be. Courses can be dropped, courses can be added and, most importantly, one shitty course won’t ruin your career, your time at Cornell or even one semester. Say what you will about this University, but even at its worst, it can be more than a little forgiving. When courses are challenging, professors can be there to help. When professors aren’t as helpful as you need, your clubs, sports and friends will fill your time, mind and resume enough that you don’t have to care. When you’re outlook on everything you’re involved in is jaded, you’re probably just homesick and need to get ready for next semester’s pre-enroll.
Pre-enroll is just one more entry in a series of events that we, at this school, blow up to clocktower-sized proportions. No, pre-enroll doesn’t decide everything. Neither does that prelim you’ve been studying for all night, or forgot to study for and then aggressively posted about on Yik Yak. Not getting into a club or two won’t mean much a year later (believe me, I know). And messing up the recruiter’s name during your fifteenth information session of the week seriously won’t stop you from getting a job, being happy and reminiscing about the days when all you had to worry about were enrolling in classes in this horrible process called pre-enroll. I try not to get sentimental or preachy, but I will say this (especially if it’ll get me closer to filling my word quota): our lives and happiness are not — and never will be — a product of any one thing. They are the combination of approximately 329,823,413,792,754,732 small ones that don’t on their own mean very much. So, instead of focusing on remembering that number or the ones you need for to know to make that dream schedule of yours, take a breath, close your laptop, open it back up, share this article and then go to bed.
Hebani Duggal is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. Teach Me How to Duggal appears alternate Tuesdays this semester.