Optimizing Your Reaction Time for Enrollment

Michael Vail ‘24

Human Autoclicker

It’s that special time of the year!

Enrollment. Some of us anticipate it, oozing with excitement at the various courses we could be taking next semester. Others dread it, knowing that no amount of time and preparation could help them achieve what they so desperately desire—a good schedule. If you’re like me, you feel a bit of both. I love—

Sorry, almost went on a tangent there. No one cares how I feel about enrollment. Nor should you. What you do care about, however, is the key to getting into your courses before everyone else. It is, at the end of the day, a competition. A bloodthirsty one, at that.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I was told the same mantra by every upperclassman I spoke to:

Click the Enroll button at precisely 7:00:00 am, on the dot. No sooner, no later. And no matter how long it takes, no matter how nervous you become, trust your click. Do not click it again. Trust your click.

And even with that wisdom, somehow I still manage to miss out on my top choices, my backup plans, my backup-backup plans, and so on until my final schedule gives the impression that I’m trying to complete four majors across every discipline.

It’s time I let you all in on the final, hidden step of the enrollment process, to guarantee that you get into the courses you want. The key is reaction time. How many milliseconds are you losing between the moment it becomes 7:00:00 am and the moment you click on the button? Scientists say, “Too much.” Here is my complete guide to optimizing your reaction time so that enrollment doesn’t become another headache.

Step One, Preparation, Part One: Invest in high quality hardware. Do not enroll on your phone. Just don’t. Use a computer with a mouse. The latency (response time) of a mouse will typically range from anywhere between 1 and 30 milliseconds (ms). Wired mice are known to be the most reliable, though wireless mice have caught up in recent years. Both are good options, but try to avoid bluetooth mice, which are relatively slow. More importantly, if you don’t know your monitor’s refresh rate, it’s probably 60 Hz, which is alright, but not optimal. The more frames your monitor can update per second, the more likely it is that you will click the button faster than the others. I recommend investing in a monitor with a refresh rate of 360 Hz or above and a response time of 1 ms. While you’re at it, go for the classy 4K resolution so you can clearly see every pixel of the button’s outline, to ensure that you won’t accidentally click outside of the box. I found a product of these specifications for only $1,299.99. This seems like a lot, but if you think of it in the scale of your tuition, I’m sure you can realize its true value.

Step One, Preparation, Part Two: Have superior genetics. It is known that some people have faster reaction times than others, and we don’t really know why. Scientists say, “Some of us are just born with good reflexes.” If you are not one of these people, you should reconsider your genes.

Step One, Preparation, Part Three: Engage in intense reaction time training. My daily routine, which I commit to every day without fail, consists of various exercises designed to improve reaction time. Everyone has a different schedule, so feel free to modify as needed, but here is my recommendation. Spend about 30 minutes opening your eyes, then closing them, then opening them, then closing them again. This will help you concentrate, and additionally you will find that it makes your ability to blink less automatic. Controlled, willingful blinking will ensure that you can keep your eyes open when enrollment comes. Next, spend an hour on a game of your choice, particularly one that requires a fast reaction time. I like to play osu!, a rhythm game that involves the clicking of circles to the beat of a song. Not only does it train your reaction time—it will also improve your mouse coordination so that you can more accurately click buttons at lightning speed. After your gaming session, return to the controlled blinking exercise for another half hour. Finally, do 100 reps of clicking the Enroll button. Practice makes perfect! Follow up your training with a few online reaction time tests to track your progress. You should be roughly following this routine every day for at least a week before enrollment.

Step One, Preparation, Part Four: Engage in mental imagery training. Stare at the Enroll button and visualize success. This is a tried-and-true method utilized by athletes for centuries. Imagine yourself watching the clock reach 7:00:00 am, and at that precise moment, clicking on the button. Imagine the screen loading, and suddenly changing, as you gaze upon the green checkmarks that indicate your victory. How do you feel? Relieved? Blissful? Bask in those feelings for a while.

Step Two, Enrollment Eve: Practice self care. It is crucial that you do not drink alcohol the night before enrollment, as you will have to wake up early and you do not want your senses to be impaired. Get exactly 12 hours of sleep. No more, no less. Too little sleep and you’ll be exhausted; too much and you’ll be lazy.

Step Three, Enrollment Day, Part One: Return to a youthful state. When asked which age displays the fastest reaction times, on average, scientists say, “Seventeen.” I am aware that most of us are beyond this point, but for the sake of enrollment, it is beneficial to be 17 years old. Kindly do so for best results.

Step Three, Enrollment Day, Part Two: Silence notifications. Your phone, your alarms, everything. Let no one distract or disturb you. Your friends can wait. Your parents can wait. This day is yours.

Step Three, Enrollment Day, Part Three: Prepare yourself for the moment. Go for a 30 minute run to get your adrenaline pumping. This will help you focus. Stay hydrated. Play a few games of osu! to warm up.

Step Three, Enrollment Day, Part Four: Get your resources ready. Turn on your computer and make sure it’s connected to the internet using an Ethernet connection. HCWireless will always fail you. Do not trust it. Make sure all unnecessary programs are closed. Every last bit of memory on your computer is going to be used for these two windows, placed next to each other in a split screen format: STAR and an online world clock. Make sure the clock is counting down to the second. You need to be ready. Hover your cursor over the exact center of the Enroll button. There is no room for error. Stare at the clock, but do not lose focus. Watch it, absorb it, become one with it. The last second comes. Click.

Step Three, Enrollment Day, Part Five: Pray to whatever you believe in. Because even after all this effort, nothing in life is guaranteed.

Featured meme courtesy of Shanil Perez ’24

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