ISMISery: A General Reflection
It’s beginning to feel as if at the end of every semester, the fates flip a coin and decide how the enrollment for the next one goes: heads for bearable and tails for headache, with varying results.
This is coming from a student of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) and one of the so-called unlucky 16 who have only had their enrollment finished two whole weeks after it began, mostly caused by the system’s failure to inform them of additional dues.
The glitches experienced by the SBE are the latest in a university-wide record of enrollment woes. While some colleges generally have it easier than most, others are almost always left hoping for the proverbial coin to fall heads facing up.
The Integrated School Management Information System (ISMIS) has for the most part, been a mixed bag – eschewing the long enrollment lines of semesters past and bringing in early morning vigils awaiting the servers to open. The experiences vary: from those of the fortunate who have theirs run smoothly, to those of the unlucky ones who are forced to make repeated visits to their departments to sort things out.
It becomes scary when you consider that the enrollment week (or weeks, depending on who you ask) more or less defines the coming sem. Even scarier for graduating students, who dread that one subject that will be the difference between graduation and an extended stay in the University.
It’s a harrowing reality that those unlucky with enrollment have to face. Shiftees and irregulars, hoping against hope for that important prerequisite subject to be offered this semester, hold their breath in suspense that the schedule turns out reasonable and even then, quake at the possibility of the subject’s dissolution.
Not actually something you would place on a coin flip now, is it? Granted, there are many things wrong with the ISMIS and our enrollment in general. Most can probably be attributed not to the clunky server and crash prone-system itself, but to the execution. An example of this case would be the different approach to enrollment used for this semester by the BA Department. Its students filled-out pre-enlistment forms before the end of the last semester; and these forms were used as bases for schedules and the enrollment of the students themselves. The handling of the ISMIS however, was conducted by faculty and a select few students.
On paper, this approach would’ve lead to a more efficient enrollment for the students of the SBE. Alas, the department seemed unprepared for the sudden hang-ups of the ISMIS, and a significant number of its students suffered unnecessary delays and anxious helpless nights wondering if they could even enroll at all.
One could cite many factors – internal and external – that caused this to happen. Fingers will be pointed and blames will be thrown, but the clock has already been turned. The second semester is already more than under way. We can breathe for the moment, our scheds set and our minds now focused on the subjects, but it is inevitable for the coin to be cast again for the first semester of next year. Can we hope for something saner? For a time when we can finally breathe easily instead of wallow in the usual confused anxiety?
As of the moment, that’s all we can do: hope. Hope for less trauma-inducing enrollment episodes for the duration of our stay in the University. Hope for a cool head when the unexpected happens and cross our fingers for a favorable outcome; for it won’t be long before we watch as that coin is cast into the air again.TC