How the U of C ruined our summer vacation

By Cam Cotton-O’Brien

It’s never too long into the winter semester that I begin to get antsy to leave the city come spring and summer. This year, unfortunately, my schedule demanded that I take a spring class. As such, I had to postpone my exodus until after the final exam for that course was written. I didn’t want to hang around the city any longer than I had to and with work requiring that I return to Calgary immediately after the Stampede, I planned to leave the day of my exam, if possible.

So began my wait.

Everyone knows that a plane ticket bought far in advance is cheaper than one purchased in the few weeks leading up to the flight. This in mind, I was dismayed when I found that the exam schedule would not be posted until the third week of the spring semester. The semester condensed as it is, this meant I was forced to watch my flight’s cost steadily rise while I sat helplessly waiting for the information I needed to plan my trip. The fact that exam schedules aren’t posted until half-way through the semester literally meant the ticket price went up a couple hundred dollars.

One may argue that such a problem could be mitigated by simply scheduling a flight for the last day of exams, but then if the final wound up being on the first day, up to three days may have been wasted sitting around in Calgary with no work and no school. It would be cheaper, but, working with such a limited time in which to travel, it was unreasonable to choose so pragmatically. Thus, the tardiness of the exam schedule’s posting delayed my travel plans and led to way higher airfares.

The problem is not merely limited to those planning trips for the summer. For students needing to work during the precious months of sun, knowing the exam schedule early is incredibly beneficial.

That way they are able to tell their employers when they can work far enough in advance that they avoid scheduling errors and the hassle of trying to get a shift covered.

While planning exams is clearly a labour-intensive task for the registrar, it remains the case that it is their job to do so, hopefully in a timely fashion. Certainly for spring and summer courses, it is simply too inconvenient and may carry heavy financial and scheduling consequences for students when they can’t find out the date and time of their exam until barely a month prior.

In the future it would be helpful for students if exam schedules were posted as soon as possible. For the spring and summer semesters, posting the exam schedules with class registration information would be ideal. Then students may find a cost effective way to avoid the 10 days when this city goes temporarily insane and everyone falls under the illusion that they are cowboys.