The “perfect” schedule: GEODE trials

 The perfect schedule does not exist.  To all the first years out there, welcome to your first ever registration period at Mines.  This will be a wild ride as you plan out every class for the next semester, only to find out that the class is full by the time you get to actually register.  You will sift through literally hundreds of schedules searching for the perfect one wasting valuable time.  So here are some tips and tricks to navigate the GEODE schedule planner easily and get most of the classes you are searching for.  For all my returning peers, hopefully you get something out of this as well. 

    First, a quick overview of GEODE.  This is a program available in Trailhead that organizes the classes you sign up for and displays all of the possible schedule combinations you could get.  Ideally, you don’t want to look at hundreds or even thousands of schedules only to realize 90% of them don’t work for you.  Quick user tip: Use the arrow keys to flip through your schedules once you open one.  That way you can cycle through quickly, saving more valuable time that you could be spending “studying” with your friends.  I highly advise talking to your advisor (be on the lookout for CASA workshops) and at least figuring out what classes you need first, and write them down somewhere.  You do not want to get to registration and realize you need another class or are in the wrong one.  Those last minute changes are the worst and you might end up in those 8 a.m. sections, regretting your life decision walking to class.  Talk to upperclassmen. Learn from their experiences and figure out which professors sound more like your style, and work from there.  You can even narrow down your schedule by department or professor.

    Remember your limits and add breaks!  GEODE has a great feature where you can add breaks for anytime of the day.  Say you’re not a morning person, like many of us, then just add an enormous break that blocks out Monday through Friday 8-11 a.m. and problem solved!  If you have clubs or practice in the afternoon, block those out too. Granted, that may not always workout in the long run.  Over a thousand other first years are probably doing the exact same thing, so maybe lower your expectations?  Whatever you decide, adding breaks is a great way to narrow down your possible schedules from thousands to hundreds.  Once you add those breaks, be sure to start locking in those classes by simply clicking the lock icon.  As you work through your schedules, you might realize that you prefer a certain professor or math in the morning, whatever that may be, you should lock those courses in, so the generated schedules can narrow even further!  

   No matter what, have a plan B, plan C, and plan G.  Again, you are competing with hundreds of other people during your registration time, and frankly you’re not going to get your first choice or even your second choice schedule. And that’s okay.  So make those backup schedules. And I mean make a meaningful backup where the classes may be flipped in time slots, classes may have a different professor, or even brave the 8 a.m. again.  You can even send your schedule to the shopping cart, then go back into GEODE and have your backup generated and ready to go in case things go south.  Be prepared to not get what you want, because that’s life.  Pro tip: check the class sizes 15-30 minutes before your assigned registration time and see if there’s still room, because if there isn’t, you gotta hustle and switch your shopping cart to a schedule that works. Once you finalize that shopping cart, send it to Trailhead and press submit when your registration slot opens. Luckily, most professors are understanding if you need to register in the middle of class (just let them know in advance).  The perfect schedule does not exist, but you can get pretty close.

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