Saturday, May 21, 2011

Letter From Shasta College

A few days ago a Shasta College catalog came in the mail. 
Coincidentally I had been pondering the possibility of taking a class in pottery making.  I checked the catalog and found a beginning ceramics class.  What luck!
    I went to my computer to fill out the application form, thinking,
“My oh my!  The Internet has made so many things easier-for most people.”
On the school’s website, I got a questionnaire with multiple-choice answers.
My first choice to make was:

Am I still in high school?  Or
Have I attended college classes before? Or
Is this my first time to enroll in Shasta College?

OK, well, I am definitely not still in high school, and I have taken college classes before, but I am enrolling in this college for the first time.
Eenie meenie miney me, I think I’ll take choice number three.

Unfortunately, this choice generated instructions for me to attend orientation and matriculation.  (Matriculation?)  Then I needed to be assessed in math and English. 
Oh, no I don’t.
I ignored that part.
Next instruction: 
        Send high school transcript.
Since my high school was torn down about thirty years ago, I think I’ll ignore that part, too.

Next they requested that I write letters asking for any college transcripts I might have accumulated.   
This was getting confusing.  That’s too many letters to write for a fun class.
I skipped that part as well.
Next came the level of education question.  Didn’t I already answer this?  My choices were:
__Finished high school (Yes, During the Kennedy administration!)
__GED (Didn’t know this was an option at the time.)
__Some College (Yes, about 300 units!)
Since the technology wouldn’t let me elaborate, I chose the latter.

Now I found questions (still multiple choice) about my reasons for attempting to enroll in college.  My choices were something like:
__To further my career
__To learn new skills so I can leave my sorry job
__For professional growth
__I just got out of high school and don’t know what else to do.

No, I don’t want to do any of the above!  I only want to take the one class, just for fun!
As it turned out, after name and address none of the questions were answerable.

I needed a real person.
I called and got to speak to a sweet young voice that assured me that I could take the pottery class for fun.  I just needed to get a “Webadvisor” account on line.

So, I spent the next half-hour arguing with my computer screen and pounding on my keyboard, attempting to accidentally establish a webadvisor connection.

 (Let me interject here, that everything I accomplish on my computer, I do so by accident.)
Somewhere during my inexpedient floundering, I got an email from a guy at the school asking me if I needed help.  He was very polite.  He didn’t say, “What in heck are you trying to do, you cretinous schmendrick?” as I am sure he was thinking.

I dashed off the following return email.

Hi there,
What I want to do is enroll in Beginning Ceramics S2598.
What I did was attempt to apply for a webadvisor account.

Lynn Guinn & lguinn are taken, (Imagine! There’s another Lynn Guinn in these parts!) so I added #947 (my favorite flight, to Cancun, where I was wishing I could immediately be transported.), and the account was set.  When I tried to access this account to enroll in said ceramics class I got back that lguinn947 is not a valid user name.

I tried several times with several capitalization configurations, and
sometimes it liked my username but not my password, and sometimes it liked my password and not my user name!

I am sure it is I, who is bungling here, because computers never make mistakes.

Perhaps the system is annoyed with me because I do not want to follow all of the directions and send for the appropriate transcripts, but I am a 61 year old retired public school teacher with a masters degree and this procedure would require more letter writing and red tape than I wish to participate in.  I don't want to further my career; I don't want credit, or even a grade.  I simply want to play with clay.
Thank you for your help,
Lynn Guinn,
Confirmation number 1631-02006S-4-01085007-099634441-0745276358
(Quite an epic number, wouldn’t you say?)

The helpful guy gave me the tools I needed to enroll.  When I finally got through, I found that the twenty spaces in the class were filled and there were twenty-five more wishful artists on the waiting list.
I couldn’t help but think that when I began the process of enrollment there was plenty of room for me in the class, but by the time I actually applied, alas, the spaces were all filled.

I hope that by the fall semester the people at the college have realized they need more classes in clay.  I certainly hope I don’t forget my confirmation number.

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