Mixsonian Larry


Summer came to a close and reality set back in, I was going to the University of Florida starting in September.  I had applied to go to the University when a senior at Gainesville High and in early August I received a letter from the University saying I was accepted for the fall quarter.  It was somewhat surprising for my grades in high school were only moderate with a 3.2 grade average my senior year, but I think that having both Mom and Dad working at the University had something to do with it.  I probably should had gone to the Junior College like my sister, but that was for those that didn’t know what they wanted to do for a career.  I knew what I wanted to do, I knew since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a scientist, or I did originally but with my long time interest in electronics I decided to be an electrical engineer. 

Normally freshmen at the University were required to live in the University’s dormitories but, because I lived in Gainesville with my parents, I was exempted from doing so.  At the time I thought this was great for I sure didn’t want to live in the dorm.  Years later, after meeting people who had lived in the dorms, it seems I missed out on a part of college life in which long lasting friendships were made, oh well, I had a different experience.

With my goal set, I was ready to start class at the University, well almost.  I attend an orientation session one afternoon that was at the University’s administrative building Tigert Hall in which they explained the process of registration for classes and other things, and we were giving a copy of the 1970-1971 school year Undergraduate Catalog.  The Catalog was my go-to source for information, costs, schedule, regulations, and most importantly, requirements for each college and course descriptions.   I took it home and studied the requirements and classes I needed for an electrical engineering degre (there was no computer science degree at the time).   It also provided the costs which had to be paid at registration time. The catalog provided the costs, tuition was a flat $150 a quarter for full time students which meant taking seven or more class hours. 

College Costs

I was planning on going full-time, so that plus registration fee of $25 cost me $175.00 a quarter, about $1,500 in 2022 dollars.  I was paying my own way for college, neither Mom nor Dad ever mentioned anything about paying for my college, Brenda was paying for her classes at the Junior College, it was always something I just assumed I had to do.  I had been working for over a year now and I had almost a thousand dollars saved up.  After all I didn’t have much to spend it on, not having a girlfriend saved a lot of money.  Gas was 35 cents a gallon, I went to an occasional movie with the church group, bought a few parts for my car. Living at home and not having a girlfriend saved a lot of money.

Registration for classes was to be held September 15th though the 18th by assigned appointments, with freshman like myself getting later appointments which I would soon find out was not a good thing.  I arrived at Tigert Hall a good hour before my registration time, walk up the front stairs and it didn’t look too bad. I had been told at orientation that there would be advisors available who would help with course selection. After a glance around I see a sign and see several tables with advisors sitting at tables with four or five students in line waiting to talk to them. I get in the shortest line.  After a half hour it’s my turn, I sit in the chair across the table from the advisor, set my brand new course catalog on the table and tell him this is my first quarter.  He looks at me with a tired look like he was thinking “Another clueless freshman” and asks if I know what I want to major in and I tell him electrical engineering.  After a few more questions he opens the course catalog, shows me where to start, then he takes a blank course schedule worksheet and writes down what I should take.  Then in a voice like he had said it a thousand times the advisor tells me the next steps to register which took place downstairs.

First Quarter Courses

CSS-111    American Institutions
CEH-131   Comprehensive English
CY-201      Introduction to Chemistry
EGC-180    Engineering Orientation
MS-301     Analytical Geometry and Calculus 1
PLM-101    Basic Phys Ed

I thank him as I got up, head to the staircase and proceed down one level.  I exit the staircase and see a hallway, twenty feet wide and running sixty feet packed with  hundreds of students scurrying around in a slow, frantic pace.  On the wall a few feet away is a large poster on the wall.

Step 1

Determine class schedule. Determine day and time for each class, record class number on schedule worksheet.

Well, how cool, I get to choose the day and time for my classes, nothing earlier than nine in the morning, and later than four in the afternoon would be good.  There were a dozen tables along both sides of the wall on which were bound computer printouts listing each alphabeticity listing each course with the day, time and instructor.  I look up my first class, American Institutions and find its course identifier CSS-111 in the printout. There were eight to choose from with different start times with each being an hour Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday.  Ok that’s easy, I choose a 10 AM class.   I do my next class, English, ok, this wasn’t hard.  Next class, Chemistry, damn, it has only one time and that was the same time as English. Ok, put down Chemistry, and choose a new time for English. And so it went, it took a while, but I finally had a schedule.  Oh, wait, it said check the posting on the wall for open classes.   Projected on the wall by several overhead projectors were computer printouts of all the courses showing if they were open or filled.  All most all classes between 10 AM and 3 PM were full.  Registration had been going on for two days and it seems no student wanted early classes.   I go back and re-work my schedule having to take English at 8 AM. 

Step 2

Give worksheet to keypunch operator.

I walk to the next station which had four keypunch machines with a woman sitting at each.  I wait in line, which was moving quite fast as the keypunch operators were really fast typists. My turn came, I hand her my worksheet, and in five seconds she types it up and a punch card shoots out which she hands to me.

Step 3

Give punch card to card reader operator.  

I wait in another line which is moving quite fast, I get to the front, hand my punch card to the operator who places it into a card reader machine which sucks the card in, reads it, and spits it out on the other side.

Step 4

Wait for schedule printout.  

There are twenty or more students standing around waiting for their printout. A woman behind a table is taking sheets of paper off a computer printer then calling the name on the printout and places it on the table.  In a few minutes my name is called, I pick up my printout and it says, REGISTRATION UNSUCESSFUL – CLASS FULL. One of my classes was full, but I knew it was open when I wrote it down.   What do I do now, I ask myself, and there on the wall is:

a.  If registration unsuccessful return to Step 1.  

b.  If successful go to Step 5.

I head back to Step 1 and sure enough, there projected on the wall it now said the class was full. It had filled from the time I wrote it down and when I got my printout. I start over.   Second time though my registration was successful, not the best schedule, but at least I had one and I proceed to step five.

Step 5


I write my check for $175 they give me a receipt and I was officially enrolled.  Well, there was one problem, I no longer had the full afternoons free to work like I had for the past two years.  I had some back to back classes that were in buildings across the campus from each other, other times an hour or two between classes.  With classes on some afternoons, I could no longer work every afternoon, but  the computing center where I worked allowed me to adjust my work hours around my classes.

With registration complete I next need to buy books, so I head to The Campus Bookstore that was in “The Hub” which was directly across the street from the computing center where I worked.  I enter the bookstore and find it packed with students buying books which are in stacks on a hundred tables in the store.  The books and tables are well organized and arranged with signs on each stack stating the course, instructor and books required.  I proceed to find my courses, CSS-111 one book, $14.00, English CEH-131 one main book and three paperbacks, $18.00, Chemistry CY201 $22.00 Calculus MS-301 a four inch thick book $24.00, total $78.00.  Wow, that was a lot of money for me making $1.63 an hour.   On the positive side the same Chemistry and Calculus books were used for the following two quarters so it would less expensive later.  There were more than just books, I bought spiral notebooks for each class, a mechanical pencil (I loved mechanical pencil’s).  Final bill at checkout close to $100.  I was all set for classes that begin on the following Monday.

My Comprehensive English Notebook
 English Notebook

Updated: 11-29-2022