I love our traditions here at Bowdoin. The lobster bake, Ivies, and Common Good day are among my favorites. But by far the worst tradition (albeit inadvertent tradition) is Phase II. I have spent many an early morning in line in Lancaster Lounge in order to sign up for classes because I didn’t get in to my first, second and even third choices. I can unabashedly say that I am a Phase II pro. So here are some of my tips:
Don’t panic. This is the biggest one. There is a lot of stress at Phase II, but don’t let it get to you. You will be alright. Just keep repeating that to yourself.
Get there early, but don’t overdo it.Sleeping in Moulton is not advised. Phase II begins at 7:30 AM on May 2 and goes until Friday at 5:00 PM. I’d say if you’re planning on going on Wednesday, get there around 6:30, it fills up fast. And for all our attributes as Bowdoin students, we are terrible at forming a line that makes sense, so remember who is in front of you and keep it that way without being obnoxious about it.
Know what classes you want before you get to Moulton. Have your first, second and, if need be, third choices for classes planned. Write down the class number, the department and the professor’s name just so there is no confusion. The way it works is you walk in to the registrar’s office and someone standing by a computer types in the class number and signs you up. If there are no spots left, you have to give them another class to try to sign you up. There is no paperwork to hand in, but have your own just for reference.
Ask around. Everyone at Phase II is looking around for classes they might like to put as their backup choices, and as you go toward the back of the line, you can hear the desperation in people’s voices raise. Don’t freak out, Bowdoin offers many fantastic classes, so ask around what other people are already signed up for, and see if there were a few descriptions of classes you missed. Who knows? Maybe Ancient Greek Sculpture is your new passion!
Don’t worry if you don’t get the classes you want.Be sure to email the professor of a class if you really wanted to get in to it. Make your case for why you want to be in the class, and you will be put on the waiting list if there is one. Attend the first (or first few) classes in September and show the professor that you really do want to be in the class, and usually you can work something out.
When all else fails, there’s always next year! (Unless of course you’re a senior…)