It is very crowded at Riverside City College this semester. Unlike previous semesters where the overwhelming crowded feeling was at a maximum for about two weeks, this semester is already showing that a lot of these new faces are here to stay.
This semester, students came back to canceled and dropped classes, increased student fees and on top of all that–no parking, unless you showed up at 4 a.m.
Frustratingly, the first couple of days were spent trying to figure out just what to do.
Instructors divided up a good deal of their time between navigating their syllabuses to adding and dropping students.
Now, a group of students trying to add on the first day is not relatively new.
What is new, however, is that many of these students that were trying to add classes, had already been enrolled for said class.
The recent fee increase from $20 per unit to $26 per unit came as a complete shock as many returning students showed up the first day of school with virtually no classes.
At the mercy of instructors, who basically had no other course of action than to use the lengthy waitlist, some of these students did not even get their classes back.
In the first week, classes were full beyond capacity. Popular required courses like English, math and history had students spilling out of the classroom, desperately trying to get any spot they could.
Students in the library checked Web Advisor daily for any up-to-the minute drops in these courses in order to quickly nab the vacancy.
Everyone could not be added, there was simply no room.
And while in previous semesters there were good chances that a student on the first day could land a potential course, that chance was all but decimated.
Unless that course was not a popular course like the required courses, they were in short supply, as a trip to the tech building where theater classes are held, doors had signs posted with messages “Class Canceled—Budget Cuts.”
The emotion could be read on students’ faces when the instructor had to relay the news that this would not be the semester that they would be taking History 7.
Disparaging? Indeed. Trying to acquire a class became survival of the fittest.
Students who have to maintain a certain number of units for financial aid or a parent’s insurance deal clamored for remaining courses.
A domino effect, more students who previously may not have been interested in newspaper production (hint, hint) were now figuratively speaking No. 16 on a wait list.
Puzzled, some instructors applied various methods to adding students from the wait list.
Some asked that if you could provide proof that you were dropped as a result of the fee increase, then you were granted some kind of priority.
A fair method but also bittersweet as it left many students who were on the waitlist without a class. Students were screwed either way.
It also left many students with a “take-no-prisoners attitude” as they were coming up with strategic ideas to land that extra class.
Some students even resorted to pleading with instructors, however, because of the budget cuts there was no leeway given and those students were left with no options.
Amongst tighter classes, the language and theater classes took a hard hit for the fall semester, as these are usually low enrollment classes and don’t fill up quickly, they were the first to be up on the chopping block.
Also, it seemed like some (and not all) of the students who were adding what appeared to be random classes, don’t really care about the class they’re taking.
Students who may have wanted to be in that class, but couldn’t get the class were replaced with students who were ambivalent.
Another nonsensical element to the hell week of the fall semester was the cancelation of some popular courses, like English.
Twenty four percent of English classes were cut this fall, more so than any other program this semester.
This is completely ridiculous because in order to graduate from RCC, English 1A must be passed. But how can one pass it if one can not take it?
The current climate of the California education system needs serious reworking. Just as community colleges are feeling the squeeze of the lack of funds, so are the higher institutions.
The budget cut eliminated a staggering 1.3 billion dollars from colleges across California, as reported on the CSU Web site.
Along with that budget cut, students in the Cal State system have started their fall semester with a 32 percent fee increase.
We’re all crowded and basically reaching for the same goal, but why should the students and instructors have to bear the results of faulty budgeting?
The California education system has long been regarded as one of the better education systems in the country.
Yet, in comparison to the rest of the nation when it came down to budgeting for educational goals–we missed the mark tremendously.
Students shouldn’t have to face an overwhelming amount of difficulty trying to get into a class.
Now that the first hellish week of classes are behind us, hopefully the oncoming weeks will begin to clear up and some kind of normalcy can be established.
Yet, in this current environment of filled classes and budget woes, it’s highly unlikely.