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Dare to DART

| Thursday, November 6, 2014

You knew it when you saw that fateful email arrive in your inbox at 10:14 a.m. Oct. 31. You knew the blissful, carefree portion of your semester had to come to an end when that subject line – “Spring 2015 Registration (DART) Information” – graced your screen, along with all other ND-SELECTED-STUDENTS@listserv.nd.edu

Until now, DARTing days were the low point of the semester. They were filled with anxiety as you tried to fit in every class perfectly, stress when the spots in those classes were snatched before your eyes and fatigue as you had to wake up at the crack of dawn to sign up for classes you didn’t want in the first place.

But that’s all about to change. As you begin to plan your schedule and plot your DART, the following list is the Essential and Authoritative Official Observer Guide to Your Perfect DART. On behalf of the entire Editorial Board, you’re welcome.

Rule No. 1
Your dart time is 7:40 a.m.? You’ll need to wake up at 5 a.m. and check Class Search every 10 minutes to make sure all the slots in your desired classes didn’t fill up during the last DART time. You’ll want to give yourself ample time to panic and pout before 7:40 a.m. rolls around. Understand that if you don’t get the exact schedule you envisioned, there are no solutions, so you should be unhappy all day and complain to your friends as much as possible. Be prepared for this – drink plenty of water in anticipation of a lot of indignant speeches about how Notre Dame is trying to sabotage your academic career. If you are a business major, make sure you have a non-business friend around so you can make him or her understand there is nothing more challenging or stressful than life in Mendoza.

Rule No. 2
Do everything in your power to win a precious DART time on the first day of your level — vigilantly wish on every 11:11 and shooting star you see, and avoid black cats at all costs. If you fail, forget about coordinating a good schedule. Your chances of getting a spot in that 11 a.m. seminar with Notre Dame’s best professor are over. Welcome to the 8:30 a.m. lecture lifestyle. In fact, if you’re on the second day, you might as well not DART at all; after all, wouldn’t you rather have no class than have to wake up before 9?

Rule No. 3
The best way to assure the best possible chances of maybe getting into a class where the average is at least a C, at best a C+, is to become an athlete. Start each day with 20 reps of 100 push-ups, 25 reps of 150 sit-ups, and run a marathon as cool-down. You can also hire a professional trainer for a couple of thousands of dollars each day and hope he or she can get you in tip-top shape. Find a sport that allows walk-ons, offer prayers to Jesus, Mary and Joseph in hopes of making it on, and secure that first time slot. Alternatively, you can accept defeat and pull out your McDonald’s job application while preparing for a life of flipping patties. No pressure.

Rule No. 4
Make sure you check ND Today or RateMyProfessors and read every professor rating and review for every potential instructor you may have in the upcoming semester. You should especially make sure to read the comments, because everyone knows that disgruntled students unhappy enough with their final grades to write a review are the most reliable sources on a professor’s teaching ability. If a professor has less than a five on the personality scale, eliminate the class from your list of options. There is absolutely no way you’ll make it through the class with an instructor so allegedly boring. Does this dud professor teach the only section of a required class that fits in your schedule? Easy: change your major. Any other option is futile.

Rule No. 5
Many students feel powerless about their DART, but your success comes down to those 10 seconds between when you log in to InsideND and when you copy-paste the CRNs. And that is a matter of your wifi signal. Start now. Find the precise spot on campus where the wifi signal is optimal, which can only be done by trial and error. Commit the next few weeks to examining every classroom, lounge and maybe even dorm room until you’ve determined where you need to be. If you become discouraged, purchase a new laptop — don’t cut corners. Arrive at your chosen spot a night in advance, if possible, and set alarms to wake up every hour to test the wifi strength and be sure no one is sabotaging your DART. And when it’s time, own those first 10 seconds and secure the last spot in your top-choice class. The key to a masterful DART is preparation and location, location, location.

Rule No. 6
Do you want to get the top job in your field after graduation? Well, forget about earning a high major GPA. Likewise, don’t focus so much on internships — they’re just experiences you can make up later. Instead, focus on your DART time because that is the most important preparation. Don’t you remember from middle school motivational posters that knowledge is power? Well, you’re never going to hold any power if you don’t learn from one of the top scholars in your field or take that cool elective about “Cutting-edge technology in Biology/Aerospace Engineering/Finance/[Insert major here].” Therefore, use the brain that got you into Notre Dame to devise any method — hacking into the DART system, creating an algorithm that alerts you when precious class spaces open or even resorting to good ol’ fashioned bribery — to get into that class you absolutely need to land that job you absolutely have to have. And when you don’t land said job after graduation, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Rule No. 7
Since this is happening in November, make sure you wear layers — this isn’t bro tanks and Chubbies season. You never know how the weather will be in South Bend, so you might want to lug that warm winter coat around with you just in case. Besides dressing for the elements, the other big rule is to pace yourself. You don’t want to be that kid who has to cab back to campus well before the day is over because he is a lightweight and tried too hard to keep up with his heavyweight friends. Be sure to eat plenty of carbs throughout the morning and afternoon to absorb all that alco — oh, you want to know about DARTing, not dartying? Sorry, can’t help you with that one.

Rule No. 8
You can’t DART without your hands. You have to type in those precious PINs somehow.  Stop using them. Now. No more shaking hands for networking or for interviews. You’re not going to get a good job anyway if you aren’t able to DART. No more holding hands with your significant other. No one will love you if you don’t have the 11 a.m. class which will be the gateway to your future career. Do not take notes in your current class. Everyone knows your future classes are more important than the classes you are taking now. Simply do not take your hands out of your pockets, ever. A tree branch might fall on them, a crazed biker could zip by and take them clean off, and a high five may leave you permanently crippled. Don’t take such a risk when DARTing is on the line. If you have to take them out of your pockets, do so only in a safe, empty and locked room for strength and dexterity exercises. On second thought, don’t do that either. You may pull or tear a muscle. Put down this paper, immediately.

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