Who would have thought that enrolling in college classes could be a competitive sport? I certainly didn’t, at least until the university that I was attending decided to make the order for enrolling in classes based on lottery. Yes, you read that correctly. The lower your number, the sooner you would be able to enroll, thus giving you a better chance at the classes that you might want. I’m sure that it seemed like a good idea at the time, but little did the administrators know just how much their students might want the advantage in enrollment dates.
We received the message that semester through our advisors as email had not yet reached our little corner of the universe. They informed us that we must line up outside the door of the administration building on a certain day. At a specified time, the door would open, and the lottery tickets would be handed out based on our position in line. Clearly, all would be handled with modesty and decorum, correct?
Anticipation built over the next few weeks. Rumors were passed among the students, and certain ones like myself expressed our desire to be one of the first in line on that fateful day. Indeed, I knew that I would be getting up very early that morning, and I was not the only one.
When I arrived at campus, there was already a line forming outside of the building. Students were talking nervously, wondering about the outcome of the lottery. After I had taken my own place in line, students continued to arrive, and anticipation—and anger—continued to build.
And then it happened. The door to the building opened, and the woman with the tickets appeared. It became total chaos. I and the other students left the line and began running for the door. My experience with my mother and our post-Christmas shopping certainly came in handy that day; I was ready to run for my prize, the lowest lottery ticket possible. Other unfortunate students found themselves pushed down and shoved aside in the grass. Some of us managed to reach the door and get one of the coveted tickets. Luckily, I received my ticket without hurting any others around me. I escaped the chaos as soon as possible with my ticket firmly in my grasp.
Did the school have some fallout after their plan? They sure did. We received apology letters soon afterward, with the university providing the new schedule for enrollment, sans lottery. I did feel bad for those students who were hurt on that day and felt that the faults in the university’s plan should have been obvious to the administration. It was certainly one of the oddest moments in my college career.