A few times over the past couple of years I have toyed with the idea of dropping out of college. Nobody (well, except @biosshadow :P ) really encouraged that thought, and I’m glad I didn’t. It was very hard for me to stay. Most students don’t have much interest in programming outside of class, teachers’ have had a tendency to leave out things that were important (and luckily I knew from my learning outside of class), and a handful of other things.

So far, this has become my quarter-life crisis. Sadly, I never entertained the idea of transferring, but I can whole-heartedly understand why other students take a few years off. That’s probably what I should have done. School has made me a progressively unhappier person over the past 4 years. It’s certainly not my thing.

“It is what you make of it” is a phrase you’ve probably heard before. Keeping this in mind has helped me to get through the harsh times this past semester. Some days you just don’t want to get out of bed, but if you remember that you can make yourself a better person by taking this as a challenge, you will do well in your life.

This past year at school, however depressing it was to me, has taught me some things about myself. I know that I will never do something I dislike for so long again. Happiness, for me, has nothing to do with a larger salary. It has everything to do with learning new things and making other people happy. I love the smile on a person’s face after helping them with something that they truly appreciate.

Friday, we presented our senior project, a website for managing tours of campus, in front of the Computer Science department, several people from industry, and the Admissions department who was our client for the project. We will be saving them at least $10,000 a year with something we built in 2 semesters. They were such nice people, they hand wrote us thank you notes and gave us SIUe sweatshirts as gifts for our contribution to their department. It was such a wonderful experience to work with them, no matter how disgruntled I got at the assignments we were given or the people I was working with. We all came out of it as better people.

Looking back on this, I now realize that it school was well worth the experience but maybe I wasn’t ready for it coming straight out of high school. I have always been a self-learner and it was frustrating to be at a place where I imagined learning to be so much different. In reality, I just had no idea what I was learning. Most of what I learned was about myself and far less about Computer Science than I had expected. As a teenager and young adult, I thought I had the world figured out, but that certainly wasn’t the case as we all tend to realize sooner or later.

Don’t give up when things are tough. If something makes you unhappy, think about the outcome, and weigh your options. It was a tough choice for me to stay in school, but it was the right one.

comments powered by Disqus