Sunday, July 8, 2018
The Early Bird and Platitudes Like That
I don't suppose, if you were among the many, yesterday morning, shut out of online registration for next January's Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, that you would enjoy reading my post today. Procrastinator that I am, I took a cue from an experience gleaned from an entirely different stage of life, to insure that I was not one of those who were put on the wait list for classes in Salt Lake City.
Back when my husband and I decided to homeschool our daughter—yes, including her entire high school career—there were several instances where timely registration made all the difference in whether someone got to "play" at tournaments. Our daughter was on the local debate team, which meant frequently registering for debate tournaments. We learned early on that, once an event in any given tournament had reached capacity, no more students would be accepted into that track. And some of those events—for instance, the competition track for impromptu speaking—filled up in a matter of minutes.
With experiences like that—and a daughter keen to qualify for nationals—we learned how to handle registration so we'd be part of the action, come tournament time. We learned to be seated at the computer, logged into the appropriate site, with our hand hovering over the mouse, ready to click through, the minute the clock struck the right hour.
Fast forward—past our daughter's high school, college, and successful launch into adult life—to yesterday. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy was about to open registration for its 2019 season at 9:00 a.m., mountain time. That meant, for me, being at the ready before 8:00 a.m. Pacific time, on a Saturday morning. No sleeping in. No luxuriating over coffee and conversation with friends. Just boot up the computer, log in to the website and watch the countdown clock flip over to 0:00.
It's a good thing I did. I wasn't sure how popular my course selection was going to be, but I have done that wait list routine before. I just didn't want to chance it again—not to mention, who wants to wait until November or even late December to get the green light for a week-long trip?
As it turned out, watching social media just after securing my own registration, it was less than an hour afterwards when I saw the first announcement come up on Twitter. Not long after that, the SLIG social media team posted a note on the SLIG Facebook group with further updates: courses #3, #6, #11, #14, and #15 were already sold out.
I breathed a sigh of relief, of course, as course number six was my class, and I was already registered—probably at 8:01 a.m., my time. But I couldn't help ponder just how many people were actually put on the wait list for each of those classes. Of course, the actual counts for annual attendance are privileged information which I'm not entitled to know. But it does boggle my mind to consider how many people are willing to plunk down the $575 tuition (plus travel expenses, lodging and meals for a week) just to learn more about genealogical research.
Some people believe that genealogy is a waning fad, but when I see a response such as yesterday morning's registration frenzy, I'm encouraged to think there are a lot of us out there willing to delve more deeply into our craft as researchers. While being waitlisted for a class may be annoying, it is encouraging to see how many people are committed to a disciplined pursuit such as genealogy. (But I'm still glad to slip in under the wire and secure my seat for a class I've been looking forward to for years.)