I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so just finished the first two weeks of the semester about twenty minutes ago. The first few weeks of a term are always hectic, as we all try to get into a new rhythm and figure out how life will work for the next three and a half months. At Illinois our ability to settle in is hampered by the academic calendar, which allows students to add a course up to two weeks after the start of the semester. This means that rosters change constantly. Students add, drop, come, go, appear, and disappear - sometimes more than once. Some beg to be let into full classes, while others who plan to drop stay registered up to the last minute and make it impossible for others to add. Still others treat the first two weeks as a trial period, hopping from course to course trying to find just the right mix for the semester. It all makes a professorchick want to channel her inner Heidi Klum and simply demand, "Are you in or are you out?"
It can also be somewhat hilarious. One student in my 11 am class asked me if she could switch to my (different) 2 pm class because "she'd heard it was much cooler." Another student who skipped the first week of class finally showed up; after class she approached me to announce, "If I'd known the class would be this interesting I would have come last week!" Still another asked me if I could "recommend other 11 am classes where there wouldn't be so much writing."
I know that there are lots of reasons why students add and drop classes and I never take it personally (even when students' comments suggest I should). Still, every semester I'm so relieved when the add date passes and I finally know to whom I get to say,"Auf wiedersehen!"