Friday, October 30, 2009


For those who don't know, when you start a new semester in college you go through stages. First the gathering of supplies...books mostly, then the adjusting your time to meet the required instruction, study time, assignment submissions, and feedback from the instructor. You learn what's expected from him/her and what the rules are. Online courses are no different but you have the added element of technology.

It takes me about two weeks to adjust at the beginning and this has always been okay, for courses that last 16 weeks. I am now on a 10 week course schedule and haven't made THAT adjustment. A week into this new experience, I failed to get my books on time by one day (called on Friday to order them and was told my financial aid voucher had to be used by the PREVIOUS day). problem...I'll get my loan check in time to order my books and have them by the fourth week of classes (not remembering that I only HAVE ten weeks!). Then around the 10th or 11th day, I strained a muscle in my back and couldn't sit up in a chair or in bed! I could lie down or stand up...that's it! It made it almost impossible to do my classwork, so I fell behind. My instructor was understanding since she also suffers from back problems. Two weeks later and as much behind in my work, I finally started getting some of my required books. Except ONE I needed for week 3 and week 5 reading, which the professor didn't post. So I continue to struggle with catching up.

The obligation and commitment of earning a degree is still a scheduled thing even if it is not in a physical classroom on a campus. Discipline and organization are the keys to success in academic pursuits. And it also helps to like what you are studying (the good stuff and the boring). It is all in your attitude. You decide if it is worth it or not.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


This is my opinion so there is no reason for legal action. It is my experience that with all it's hype and extreme advertising budget, eHarmony sucks as a dating service. They will have you believe that because you go through an "extensive" psychological profile questionaire, that you will have much more success in finding "a true match" on their site. And when you have paid your money (one of the MOST expensive online dating site fees) and nothing happens, they tell you that it takes time to find the right match FOR YOU. Here is my experience with eHarmony. I hope it helps you or that you can identify and sympathize.

In a (fairly) quick check back into my closed matches from eHarmony, my preliminary start date with them seems to have been August 13th, 2003. That would have been the date I filled out the psychological questionaire to give them a good idea of who I am and who I'm looking for as a match. Since then, they have sent me 2100+ matches...NONE of which I have met! I have gotten to the open communication stage with a few and have spoken on the phone with approximately three (3). In six (6) years of on again, off again membership...not one face-to-face meeting. I have had full membership on several occasions and have taken advantage of the "free communication" weekends they have been offering during the past year. Nothing! Nada! Zilch!
They charge $59.95 for one month! The most expensive service online at the moment, if you don't count the personal service companies with dating counselors/coaches who work with you one-on-one. The cheapest they get is $19.95/mon. if you pay a year in advance. They will also run specials of 3 months @ $59.95 (which works out to approx. $20/mo. and is comparable to other online dating services and they have recently allowed the payments to be taken out monthly over the three month period, instead of all at once...nice, considering the economy).
Just as an example of the success rate, I spent 90 minutes today just clearing my NEW matches. Their system of reviewing your matches is way too time consuming. I have filters on who they are suppose to send me as matches, and they don't even pay attention to my preferences.

They pride themselves on a 'guided' system of communication to protect their members and make sure that both parties are 'right' for each other before they are 'allowed' to communicate directly. This system was modified a couple of years ago to include the option to "Fast Track" the communications between matches, IF both were paying members and both agreed to immediate contact. You cannot see a non-paying member's photos, nor contact a non-paying member other than 'Icebreakers' which consist of a short list of common contact phrases which can be shared for free...ONCE...between two members. So if you are paying your $60, you can't contact someone who isn't paying. And you have to be very vigilant during the 'free contact' weekends to get through the long arduous process of sending questions back and forth to get to the 'open communication' step. (That is if you haven't figured out how to put contact information into the open-ended response section...Hopefully, nobody at eHarmony will read this and close THAT loophole.)

Has anyone noticed that the couples they show in the commercials for eHarmony have wedding dates that are several years ago? Are they still together? Anybody gotten married as a result of meeting through eHarmony in the last two years?? It's all very suspicious.

I have had my profile on eHarmony for over six (6) years and haven't met one man face-to-face. I have met many men from other online dating sites...some that charge, some that are free. The MOST the others charge is $24.95...even for the MILLIONAIRE dating sites! My guess is that the membership fees are so expensive to pay for the huge advertising budget.

I would really like to hear from any online daters out there who have met anyone through eHarmony!! Please, send me your story! Anyone? even if it didn't progress past a face-to-face meeting or a second date...anyone?!

Monday, October 05, 2009


Today I start my graduate program online. I found an accredited university that offered a near-perfect program and worked with me to resolve my academic 'issues' so that I could enroll and continue my pursuit of a Master's degree.

Back at the turn of the century (lol, love saying that) I was working on two Master's degrees at the same time, which had nothing to do with one another and none of the credits crossed over and counted in the other program. I started one in Educational Technology in 1998 and got into the second one in Fine Arts (terminal degree like a PhD) in 2000. That's when I started teaching a class as a requirement (as a Graduate Teaching Assistant or GTA). As long as you are at least half-time, you can put off payback forever (theoretically). The plan was to stay in school to avoid paying my education, not really. The plan was to get my Master's in Graphic Design and teach at the college level. The MEd was to bridge the gap between my Bachelor's in Fine Arts and being able to get into the Master's in Fine Arts. (They make you wait 2 years!)

In October of 2002, my husband died and I couldn't bring myself to graduate that semester with my first Master's in Education, as I'm sure you can understand. My studies faltered, I was a wreck and in my efforts to put one foot in front of the other, I continued to take classes, teach my GTA class and start a new job at a local university on the provision that I completed one of my degrees. Three years later and a constant head-butting with the new dean, I was fired for not having my degree.

That was 2006 and I have been unemployed and employed for three years; as a graphic designer, unemployed, as a waitress and substitute teacher, and again unemployed since January 2009. I found the online university and enrolled in the Master's in Instructional Design for Online Learners (, ohhhh, the irony!). It's perfect! I can teach again, from ANYWHERE! It allows the freedom from scheduled times in physical classrooms and fits well with my night owl tendencies. I can log in to the courseroom, read comments, post comments, or submit a paper at 3AM. How cool is that?

It is my sincere wish to teach art online. It is a bold undertaking in the face of many nay-sayers but that does not deter me. So now I am starting on my way towards my goal and it's so exciting. Once I have the degree, I can apply to colleges expanding their online courses, which is a big trend in this economy with everyone going back to school to beef up their skills or change careers. And it saves the institutions from building new structures to house the demand. It is the future.