Today's Exciting Episode: Servo5678 vs. The Bureacracy
Or "Today I was wrapped in enough red tape to be mummified"

Today was the first day of the Spring 2003 semester at college. I had set up my schedule last October and was ready for my classes: Informational Theory, Computer Databases, Economics, and Ethics in Science and Technology. Before I left for Holiday Break I double-checked the schedule computer and all was well. Then I spent three weeks with family and away from classes and work.

Now this morning I checked one last time to make sure my classes were set up correctly. Imagine my surprise when I found that Ethics in Science and Technology had been replaced by the system with African American Studies! Apparently someone in charge of the scheduling system assigned the same registration keycode to both classes and, when the error was found, they dumped the Ethics course and placed everyone that was enrolled in it into the A.A. Studies class. I had to sort this out immediately or else I would be stuck in the class.

I started at the Computer Science building, the place that houses the department of my major. The guy behind the desk told me I needed to go to the Philosophy office because the Ethics course falls under their jurisdiction. I was sent to the Administration Building to that office. Lo and behold, imagine my surprise to find that the Philospohy office was actually in another building across campus. I made the long walk out there only to be told I needed the general Schedule Conflict office.

At that office I was asked for my ID number. I explained the problem to the girl working the desk and, come to find out, the Ethics class had been stricken from the curriculum altogether. It's still required, of course, but it's not available for the time being. I produced a list of alternate choice from my pocket, but as she reviewed the list she told me that these courses don't exist either.

I explained as nicely as I could what I needed] to make my schedule work. It turns out that, after some prodding, she admitted that the Psychology class I need to take is available. "Great," I said, "Sign me up for that." Her response: "Oh, I can't do that." THEN WHY AM I TALKING TO YOU?!?.

I was sent to a computer terminal to access the online schedule system which, of course, was down today. The error screen sent me to the department office for Psychology and they, of course, told me that my only chance to get this class was to wait for the system to become active again. After three hours of walking from building to building I had come full circle.

With nothing else to do I went home and sat at the computer and pressing Refresh at the system error screen until, at 5:30, the system came back online. I switched the classes successfully and everything should be taken care of now.

The moral of the story: A person can screw things up, and a computer and screw things up, but to really cause a tremendous screw up requires a person using a computer.