I registered for classes today, and dangit, I want my sticker.
The last two times I voted, they were out of stickers at my polling place. In fact, I am pretty sure I have never received an “I VOTED” sticker (admittedly, this is seriously a First World Problem). In place of the numerous “I VOTED” stickers I have not received, I would more than happily take an “I REGISTERED” sticker, especially since I did so without feeling the urge to murder anyone. For once.
Registration at my school is something of a blood sport in that it makes you want to kick in the face all the ASPhats who, even though you’re a senior with like 6,000,000 credit hours, somehow get to register before you and as result have already snapped up all the sections of classes you hoped to snag. Nothing can incite violence among undergrads like the frustration of being Waitlisted or having to put off Some Fracking Distro Requirement. Yet. Again.
Pro tip number one! If you find yourself wait-listed for an upper-level class and you’re in position 3 or better, definitely stick it out. Your persistence will be rewarded when people who realize that, for example, “Sensation and Perception” is not some groovy love-in about Taking Drugs and Discussing Our Feelings or what have you but is in fact a rigorous exploration in neuroscience, drop it like it’s hot and run screaming for the hills. I’ve been as far down as #6 on a waitlist and, as yet, my persistence has never gone unrewarded.
Then again, I am a stubborn little snit. I am willing to wait six months or more (sometimes much more) when new technology comes out to save a couple hundred clams, I am willing to wait ’til you’re struggling on the hills to launch my (admittedly-pathetic) attack, and I am willing to play chicken with the Waitlist Fairy (though I tend to hedge my bets by keeping a backup class on the books until such time as I’ve confirmed my upgrade from Waitlistee to Citizen: this process has never extended beyond the end of the drop-add period, and as such has thus far proven to be a worthwhile gamble).
Pro tip number two! If you have earned a solid reputation as a student (and your University’s policies allow it), some profs may even be willing to open an extra seat for you … but you do need a very solid reputation, and you need to ask really nicely, and preferably not in front of the whole class.
You can also mitigate the full-classes problem by registering mostly for obscure and difficult classes that meet prior to 11 AM. It would appear that there is some truth to the stereotype that college students prefer to stay up late and sleep later.
If you care about learning and are willing to haul your back bacon out of bed and hop on the bike at 7 AM, a new world of classes may open up to you … unless you go to a school like mine where an inordinate number of your fellows also care about learning and are willing to get up early to learn, in which case YMMV. Meanwhile, even I tend to avoid 8:00 AM classes, because frankly the thought of getting up at 5:30 in the middle of winter and never seeing the sun again is simply too depressing for words.
Speaking of winter! As of Monday, I have finally broken out the winter kit:
Today I even wore the blue foul-weather jacket (featured in like half of my banner pix) and a wind vest. It would’ve made more sense to wear a light baselayer instead of the windvest, but we were up stupidly late last night, though, and I was less than entirely coherent this morning. All I can say is that It Made Sense At The Time. Fortunately, today’s Logic Failure has not dealt any damage to my education, as best I can tell. Both my classes today were pretty light (we have exams coming up next week, so we were just wrapping up and prepping review stuff).
I’ve also worn my winter bike shoes for the past two days. I took my neoprene socks off for the ride home on Monday and they’re still in my lab-crap bag, which was still in the garage as of this morning (because that’s where it lives). A person possessed of normal common sense faculties would collect the neoprene socks and bring them in, but … well … at least in that regard, common sense may not be my strong point.
The winter bike shoes (my Lake … um … whatever 140s?) offer the advantage of stiffer soles than the Ragster sandals, which does translate to less effort. The disadvantage is that they’re much less comfortable for walking around campus and only slightly less terrifying on our slippery stairs than the mountain bike racing shoes (though still leagues less so than the road bike shoes: I just don’t even try the stairs in those guys, especially not in the Physical Science Building, which is actively trying to kill me).
A pair of waterproof bib tights from Endura are on order on the solid recommendation of several cycling friends. Our winters here are wet and schmutzy, and waterproof bib tights may be just the thing. Besides, they are likely to come in very, very handy during the Grovel, assuming it’s cold enough to wear them.
Speaking of which, I am (as you know) signed up for this year’s Gravel Grovel, and you can be too! If you’re interested in the best 62 miles of suffering the Midwest can offer, click on through and get it while it’s hot.
Come on, they give you a t-shirt and food (and there’s a shorty-version “Fun Ride” if you either [A] aren’t into racing or [B] can’t quite bear the thought of rocking a mixed-terrain metric whilst still digesting your Thanksgiving dinner). What more could you ask for (I know, I know: race-legal electric assist, a pony, and, OH YEAH, a sticker that says “I REGISTERED”)? You don’t even have to finish the race to get the t-shirt and food, either. In fact, if you DNF, you can start drowning your failure in delicious food before everyone else gets back.
Ask Me How I Know… ._.
This year’s plan (as always) is to finish (when have I had another plan?). The bike has already proven itself, and since the bike was the problem last year, I think I’ll make it. I finished Death March pretty darned well and haven’t raced since, so if I finish the Grovel and don’t race any more in 2013, that would give me a 100% finish rate for the year (baby steps!). That will be the most finishing year I have ever had, if you don’t count 2010 when I raced once and finished by the skin of my teeth.
So that’s it for now. Much bikier than my last post.
Anyway, get signed up for the Grovel, and while you’re at it, keep the rubber side down.