Final Registration: Braving the Unknown Land of Banner

A Last-Semester Senior Dukes it Out With the Unchecked Boxes And Emerges Victorious… For Now


Navigating Banner can be a tricky task, but with a little thinking outside the box, it’s more than possible to manipulate the unchecked boxes. (Courtesy of Banner)

Published: November 5, 2009

I am a closet planner. I live off of Post-It notes (pink ones shaped like flowers, of course) and I get almost as excited about buying my new agenda for the year as I do shopping the new fall lines (almost, not quite). That being said, I enjoy planning my next semester schedule way too much. There’s just something about deciding my fate for the next 4 months that gets my endorphins going.

Perhaps it’s that when registration time rolls around, I am really sick and tired of my current classes and ready to replace them with new ones. Maybe it’s the long list of courses that lay in front of me like a huge flower garden, just waiting for me to run through it and pick the ones that look appealing. Maybe I am just really pathetic and have fun organizing information on a page (which is most likely true since after the schedule is created, I solidify it in a word document complete with color coding and images that I then hang above my desk).

But this time around, registration was anything but enjoyable. I quickly found out that your last registration has the fun sucked right out of it, my garden transformed into a baron wasteland devoid of options and full of dead ends.

I suppose I knew my last registration was going to be a letdown when I opened the course booklet. Of course, it is no longer available in hard copy (fail) and it took me an hour to figure it out on Banner (double fail). By the time I actually figured out how to use the site, I was so exhausted that I wrote myself directions on how to get back to the point I had reached and called it a night.

After some pointers from a couple Web-savvy friends, I realized that Banner had a page that literally tells you exactly what you need to take (it’s called DegreeWorks, for you poor souls that have yet to be enlightened). I couldn’t have been happier; it’s like someone just handed me a GPS system for navigating my way across the Fordham portal in cyberspace.

That was until I found out where exactly it was leading me, and the options were no vacation, I’ll tell you that. I suppose, or at least I’d like to believe, that this happens to every senior—it’s down to the wire and you have to fill the last couple of requirements, which doesn’t leave much of a choice when it comes to the courses you need.

More like no choice at all. The unchecked boxes taunted me on the page, “Can you manage to fill us all in one semester?” they heckled. I hoped that if I clicked around on Banner long enough the registration gods would suddenly reveal to me some hidden list of additional options.

Needless to say, the heavens did not open up and my options remained exactly the same; really all I had accomplished was being set back 3 hours’ worth of reading. At this point, I was too invested (and had already far surpassed an appropriate hour to start being productive), so I was forced to think outside the box. I began to rearrange my requirements, filling up some boxes, unchecking others, until finally I was able to take some courses that actually looked interesting instead of just gritting my teeth and suffering through my last four months as a student (me? bitter? not at all).

I rolled out of bed at 6:50 a.m. sharp, slammed my knee into the desk corner, and had my computer up and running faster then you can say “last semster senior!” I typed in those little codes as fast as I have ever typed anything in my life, and felt a surge of relief run through my body when no red error message appeared.

I was very proud of myself. Impressed by my scrappiness. Who says I wouldn’t be able to survive on a deserted island? I was able to cheat the system. Take that, Banner! You thought you could dictate my every move, solidifying my fate with those little empty boxes that were yearning for check marks. I sure showed you!

Well, I will believe this for now. The real test will come when May rolls around, and that clearance for graduation does or does not happen. Do I fear that Banner will fight back? A little. It can discard one of my theology courses, uncheck the pluralism box, even erase me from the system altogether. But I think we’ve reached an understanding; Banner even made me a nice little schedule to hang on my wall as a peace offering. It’s not color coded, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.