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Things Sure Have Changed

February 9, 2010

It’s all well and good that I am trying to finish my degree, but I wasn’t prepared for the difficulties that advancements in technology would present.  Here I was all worried about conjugating French verbs, when I should have been  fretting over selecting the appropriate length answers for the 6 security questions required for my University account. 

After my triumphant notice that I would be able to complete my schooling, I hopped online and tried to register for my first class immediately.  Now back when I was in school (just after they invented the printing press), registration was done through the mail or by waiting in long lines.  Class schedules were listed in a  big fat book that got mailed to your house.  You applied for student loans and grants by mail, picked up your checks by standing in a queue that started with the first letter of your last name, and paid your tuition at the accounting office.  It was all very human.  Also time-consuming.  And comparatively simple.

Nowadays, of course, everything having to do with applying to/ registering for/ paying for college is done on-line.  Granted, I am not SuperTechGirl, but I like to think I can navigate a website without having to consult “The Internets For Dummies.”  Yet here I was, almost in tears after 15 minutes on the website for my University.  The array of topics to choose from was overwhelming.  Every hyperlink was a new pop-up window and I soon had a dozen windows open, none of them offering what it was I was looking for.  I had to first register for my own account which included 5 different windows to enter address/ phone/ emergency contact.  Then set a bunch of security questions that would not accept my responses because they weren’t long enough (Sorry, Spot: your name isn’t long enough to answer “What was the name of your first pet?”  I should have thought ahead at the age of 5 when I was naming you.)  Once that was done I had to search for my class by term/ section/name/ division and if there were any open seats.  Then I had to register for a university e-mail account (even though I have 5 other e-mail addresses already) which included opening 6 different windows telling me what system requirements were needed and what programs I needed to download.  I also had to petition to take  a reduced credit load given that I didn’t need 13 credits to graduate.  Where the hell is that petition?  After 45 minutes I  finally gave up  without knowing:

A) If I had in fact registered for a class

B) How much said class would cost me and/ or when/ if I would be billed

C) What books were required for said class

D) What was the syllabus for said class

E) Was said class in fact the class that I needed to graduate

F) If I had a University e-mail address and if so, what it was

G) Why is it that 18-year-old college freshman can figure this stuff out and I can’t

H) How does one get rid of a migraine

I) Who were the asstards that designed this website

I literally slammed my laptop closed and didn’t venture anywhere near the website for at least a week.  I finally waved my “Independent Woman Doing It For Herself Surrenders” flag and asked the hubby to help me figure things out.  Class was starting soon, after all (as far as I could determine). 

I begrudgingly cracked open the laptop, dug out what I believed was my login and password (it took after only 4 attempts!), ready to have hubby school me on interweb basics, and VOILA: there was my bill!  There was my class!  There was my e-mail account!  It was as if the internet elves had been hard at work spiffing up my university account whilst I had been cursing the day it had been born! 

I am hoping it is just a poorly designed website that is to blame, but all this technology is making me feel really old and out-of-touch.  After a few log-ins I am starting to feel a bit more confident about the site, and I think I have my registration figured out.  Although I did get an e-mail from my student advisor telling me I registered for the wrong class.  Oops!  I still rather long for the olden times, though, when instead of cursing a website,  we got to stand in line for an hour and a half just to curse people directly to their faces.  Ah, the good ol’ days. . .

6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2010 10:46 pm

    I promise it gets easier. Once you learn how to use all those webpages you will be able to do everything you need for classes. And soon you will be glad that you are able to access everything whenever you want, instead of having to call your prof at home (I remember those days too).

    Most often though, I would agree….the ease for the user of college websites is awful. Google needs to get their hands on that!

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      February 11, 2010 9:39 pm

      It is already getting easier, but they still get a D- for website design. You are right: I need to be grateful that I don’t have to take time off from work to make a trip to the campus to stand in line for hours at a time.

  2. carrieb permalink
    February 10, 2010 2:29 am

    I once dropped a class because I couldn’t figure out the insanely expensive calculator that I had to purchase.

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      February 11, 2010 9:37 pm

      That is hysterical! I hope you were able to return your calculator!

  3. February 10, 2010 10:56 pm

    I can walk you through all the school admin pages sometime if you want.

    We could even do it virtually, just say the word ;)

    • mjjaaska permalink*
      February 11, 2010 9:37 pm

      Oh, Elliott: Thank you for your kind offer! I should have come to you first!

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