2018: Day 6
Ah, to be 22 again! Graduate from college with a bigger brain, ready to take on the world with my whole life ahead of me! It was a great time in my life; in fact, so great I decided to be 22 again this past winter.
When I registered for the Viticulture Program at Okanagan College, I did so not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I knew nothing about the college, the program and or whether this would be valuable. I knew that I had absolutely no understanding of how to grow grapes (which was confirmed in the first hour of class), and understanding how to grow grapes was probably a good skill to have if I wanted to operate a vineyard and winery. Right? We stumbled on this viticulture program and decided it would be the right thing to do – plus, it was the solid kick in the butt we needed to transition to the Okanagan. Not having been in school since 1991, I’ll admit that it was a little intimidating returning after all this time. I would be an old goat in a class of kids. My memories of university were of large lecture halls, disengaged students and pretty dry material. There is just no way to make advanced calculus look sexy. Nobody was in their 50’s. But this time around was different. We had fewer than 30 people in the class and everyone was engaged because they wanted to be there (including myself). It’s different coming back as a mature student. At 18, it’s often hard to know what you want to do with your life. When you’re in your 50’s, you either know it or you better figure it out soon! I can honestly say that every moment was interesting, including some of the heavier biology we touched on in February. And it was great to see the youngin’s so engaged.
There were 2 things that stood out for me, making this an uber-cool experience. The first was wine tasting. One component of the program was wine studies, which is essentially equivalent to WSET level 2. We explored wine regions around the world and tasted wines from those regions. In what universe is drinking wine in class part of an education?! Sweet! The second thing was the field trips. Several part days were spent at wineries or vineyards speaking to some of the industry’s best people. Again, it doesn’t get much more awesome than that.
The course was a lot of work – more than I expected – especially in January. There was one week where between the 2 components, we had 2 exams, homework and a couple papers due. On top of that, Linda and I also had our WSET Level 2 exam and annual general meeting for our triathlon club in Vancouver in addition to packing and moving. It was a little over the top, but things have a way of working out.
I’ve never been one who has stressed over exams, but not having written a real exam in 30 years, I kinda froze with the first one. In the box where you fill in your name, I panicked. “name? name of what? Name of who? What kind of stupid question is this?” It’s ambiguous. Is this a joke? Wait. Maybe this is my name. Hey, I know this answer! Cool, I’m one for one, on to the next question. Date … I’m on a roll, baby”.
I don’t remember much from my grad ceremony from Simon Fraser University. I know that it was several months after I finished my course work and I was already into my career. It just didn’t seem that important. The first time around, I think school was a necessary evil – a means to an end. This time it was different. Though it was only a 3 month program, graduating meant a whole lot more. I’m not sure why. I suspect it’s because this was something I chose and knew that I’d love doing. Or maybe I just realized I probably doesn’t have too many more post secondary experiences left in me. I’m glad I went. I’m also glad I got to share the experience with my buddy Katherine. I know being at this ceremony meant as much to her (possibly more) than it meant to me.
So, tonight we’re celebrating grad with some jello shots. Because all us cool kids are into jello shots these days, we thought we’d change it up. This will be the first time we’ve made a food-like drink during our 12 Days of Drinking, but it has all the necessary requisites: booze and stuff. Hey, why not? Because the grad ceremony was so special to Katherine, we thought we would also honor her by using a sparkling wine as a base (Katherine is a Master of Champagne). No, we didn’t defile real Champagne in the making of these shots, we went with something less expensive. Plus, I think there is some law around adding gelatin to champagne. To be clear, we used one of my favorite sparkling wines, 8th Generation Integrity. It was good enough to drink after finishing Ironman so I wanted to use it here. Maybe it’s my go-to milestone bubbly.
CONGRATS to you Katherine, Sash, Mellanie, Jessie, Ethan, Lieza, Marilyn, Chandra, Robert, and Stacy! I’m glad we’ve stayed in touch after the course finished. I look forward to seeing your careers progress. And a special thanks to you, Trevor. Your passion for the industry and knowledge really stood out. All instructors ought to be as engaged in their profession as you.
Original recipe credit below. We also substituted cherry juice and cherry liqueur instead of raspberry.