Due to an entirely planned and organised event, the university’s IT systems were in chaos yesterday. The event, which had been planned for months in advance, was wholly unpredicted and beyond the abilities of anybody to solve. Despite numerous suggestions on how the event could be handled, after a similar shock incident in 2016 when a planned event took place and overwhelmed the university’s IT systems, the event has struck once again.
As the entirety of first and second year logged on at 8am, eager to make their great module choices for next year, it was clear from the off that something was amiss. The much-touted ‘everyone has to do it at exactly the same time’ system once against came crashing down to earth against the force of around 13,000 students trying to do the same thing at the same time, much like one of Newton’s Laws of Gravity – ‘every frenzied server mass log-on causes an equal and opposite fire in the server room’. It was Fresher’s Week on Portswood Road but the IT server management equivalent.
As emails from management akin to bulletins sent to the trenches by the First World War generals in their chateaux circulated the student body, despondency grew further amongst the beleaguered souls of Portswood, literally stuck in their rooms hitting refresh like their lives depended on it.
One of the main reasons the annual event takes place as it does and takes all by surprise when it fails is that it allows students to take classes from outside their faculties, just in case you’re a Physics student who feels like learning a bit about the archaeology of 14th Peruvian basket weaving methods or the music and works of legendary Europop artist Gunther. Likewise, English students can dabble in inorganic chemistry, although being able to set up your own ket lab is their best chances of future employment, or perhaps a bit of the geology of the North Downs.
However, it could be worse. The main rite of passage for a history student is queuing at 5am for Group Project in January of second year, sort of like ragged orphans queuing for a bowl of gruel outside the workhouse in mid-winter in a particularly grim Charles Dickens novel. This is also a system maintained as awkward and low-tech as possible to test the patience, dedication and possible masochistic tendencies of students.
The Academic Presidents for all the affected departments and departmental society committee members were too busy looking at themselves in the mirror and lying on their CVs to actually do anything about the issue.