The rock and hard place

Last week I started my final journey to finishing up my bachelors degree. My first class through WSU Global Online began. Friday I graduated with my AA degree, that’s one more step finished (though I still have one more class to take that starts Monday, thanks to a very long and complicated saga involving a less-than-proper professor). It’s the beginning of week two of my WSU class, and, I’m not enjoying it. It’s not the accelerated pace (summer classes cram a semester of work into six little weeks), though that’s not exactly fun either, it’s more that through the entire course there isn’t a single powerpoint, lecture note, or audio from the professor. Not. One.

This really bothers me.

I’ve taken 6 online classes before this one. Each and every class has had either powerpoint lectures or audio lectures. This is the best way to learn (for me). My current class the teacher (I won’t say professor as he’s a PhD student, which for $1560 a class, I wasn’t super happy about that) simply assigned us six books to read, discussion questions and essay assignments. There is no other interaction other than a whole lot of people asking why nothing links correctly or why there are multiple assignments in multiple areas and everything’s a bit confusing.

But zero lectures. This is not what I was expecting. I tried multiple ways to find out if this is how all the classes are, and the only two items I could find, both non-favorable reviews, said there are no lectures for the online classes. I sent my advisor an email and asked if this is the standard format for online classes through the university. She says it varies but the situation I described is typical.

So we arrive at the crossroads part of the story.

After researching UW Bothell (38 minute drive without traffic which would probably make it like 60 minutes depending on the time of day), there are some classes I can take there if I need an in-person format. UW also does an Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences degree. All online. All with recorded video lectures. I attended an online webinar for the program today and while it’s not exactly the same degree as the WSU humanities, it’s similar, and across most of the platforms (which they call themes) and more socially related than straight history. Which I like but don’t necessarily completely love. It would certainly given me a more varied skill set though.

What to do? They are still accepting applications for autumn, which are due July 1 (including a 1000 word personal essay, which lets face it, would take me about an hour to write). Spaces are available, though it is a limited program. They currently only have 360 students.

Do I switch after investing in the WSU program, and put my one class at WSU towards the UW degree? Or stay at WSU and deal with the non-lecture classes (which honestly does not make me feel really excited to continue). I have six days to come to a decision about what to do.

Do I stay a Cougar or become a Dawg?

Finding purpose

There are few things more frustrating to me than having a plan change. I am a person who likes a plan. I like a plan like my dog likes a nap (which is all the time). The plan I started forming back in September was that I’d enroll in a viticulture certificate course online through Washington State University.* I’d heard the enology certificate was generally at full capacity with a long waitlist. Plus it involved chemistry and compounds and all those other chemically scientific things I don’t really understand.

dscn3037Viticulture –  (from the Latin word for vine) is the science, production, and study of grapes. It deals with the series of events that occur in the vineyard. It is a branch of the science of horticulture.

I’m a behind the scenes kind of gal anyway, so viticulture seemed more my speed. The support crew of the wine making process. I’d rather learn about the soil that grows the vine, and the vine that grows the grapes, than actually learning how to make the grape into the wine.

Sign me up for the viticulture certificate. Deposit paid to join the certificate waitlist ($50). Classes would start February 2017.

With that enthusiasm for the process, and the idea that once I completed the 18 month certificate, I’d try for a job at one of the hundreds of wineries around Seattle. There’s even a tasting room 5 minutes from our house in Seattle. With a certificate I would at least have some knowledge of the wine industry, even if all I ended up doing was working in a tasting room pouring wines and discussing the nuances of the cabernet sauvignon or resiling.

Dreamy times, my friends.

That was until Tuesday evening when I received an email saying that they had filled the certificate course from the waitlist. And I would be kept in the queue for the certificate class in 2018. High demand and all that.


I’ve been interested in this program for years, and interested in anything in the wine industry for quite awhile but I became very intrigued after The Husband took me to Sonoma 5 years ago (?). I couldn’t get enough, of not just tasting wines, but learning about the process. At that point I’d already decided in the future I’d earn the certificate.

Now I feel a bit lost as to what to do. I’d been looking forward to this course, terrior, getting down and dirty (so to speak), plant diseases, and the best fertilizers, and pruning. I was excited about all that.


I’m interested in lots of things, history – especially anything revolutionary war era, mid 1500-1900’s England, civil war and reconstruction, I’ve even started watching lectures on the middle ages {and I am finding it weirdly fascinating}. I even did two classes on religion {and am about as unreligious and skeptical as they come}. I even read most of the books discussed in the American Novel Since 1945 class as well.

All of these are lectures you can watch via Yale Online, for free, whenever you want, for no credit. The viticulture certificate would have given me an official piece of fancy paper that would show I took the classes – papers, participation, tests, wine knowledge weekends and all – with proper grades and merit and all of that, rather than just something I had been doing for fun. {and I know how weird that is to most people, furiously scribbling notes about the middle ages or the American revolution while watching college lectures by choice. my dearest wish has always been to get locked into a bookstore or a library for a night. maybe I’m beyond weird?}

It would have been something I could build a second career on. I am still on the waitlist for the next session in 2018. 2018? That’s a long way away at this point, and who knows where I’ll be then, especially since there are several required winery learning weekends in Washington you have to attend.

I’m feeling restless, and rather down about the whole thing. Yesterday I watched this documentary on Gerhard Richter, a fantastic German abstract painter. I think today it’s time for me to finally break into my oil paints and get creative on a piece of canvas. No more nice little landscapes. Today might be time to create a good piece of abstract expression.

Death on the Vine perhaps…. What are you up to on this cold December Thursday?



*this is after I was enrolled in a BS degree at WSU for English/Art History, which was to start last summer. deposit (non-refundable be the way) paid, classes selected, advisor talked to. at which point in trying to decide my classes for fall semester my advisor let me know they really weren’t running the art history classes/major. they didn’t have enough interest. which sucks since that was why I was going to go to school there. so when tuition came due – $6,500 for 3 classes – I decided not to go forward. I was going to finish my degree for me, so what’s the point of spending ALL that money if it would be in a subject that wasn’t what I wanted? plans change.