[caption id="attachment_2192" align="aligncenter" width="640"] A Place Just For Me[/caption]
If you are reading this it means that I didn't chicken out and not publish this blog post. It's tied pretty close to my life right now...
A few weeks ago I made one of the hardest and biggest decisions of my life - at least to this point.
After doing some fairly deep soul-searching I decided to quit school.
I've had a few weeks to process the entire situation some more. Here are some of my thoughts currently on this whole thing...
I Wanted A Degree
First let me give you just a bit of background. In 2008, after two years of working for a local contractor, I moved to Guatemala for a year of voluntary service. When I came back home in 2009 it was with the pretty clear idea that I was going to go to college and get a degree.
Here is somewhat how the future looked in my head.
Get a job
Get a degree
Get a better job
Get a wife
Get a life
Well life hasn't exactly followed that outline.
I didn't start straight off to college. Instead I went back to work... first for my dad and then for the same contractor I worked for before I went to Guatemala.
In fact it wasn't till the summer of 2010 that I started taking classes at my local Community College. First it would be general education classes for two and a half years and after that I'd transfer to Old Dominion University for the final two years of a computer science degree.
Well the first two and half years ended this spring. I took the summer off to help around my dad’s farm and work in construction part-time to help pay for my fall tuition.
The fall semester came and I got all set up for taking my online classes through ODU. Things started out pretty good...
Then It Got Weird
After a few weeks I started to hit the "hard stuff." I needed to study a lot. I needed to do a lot of homework. My brain started to feel a bit fried.
I was also involved with trying to help finish creating and marketing my family’s corn maze for the fall season. It was almost a full-time job just keeping up with that.
I have a few website clients as well and about this time a couple of issues came up on a few of these sites that needed to be taken care of.
I know you don't want to hear about how busy I was. So I won't get much farther into that. Suffice to say life was busy.
As I was in the middle of all this I started to wonder if there was any way I could cut school out, do the things I enjoy (and was knee-deep in) and figure out a way to make a living.
I Started to Consider Quitting
That is when I started to consider quitting school.
It is one of those things that can keep a person up at night. I have a hard time going to sleep to begin with. There were a few almost sleepless nights as I thought about my degree and my future.
As I started to actually consider quitting school I began to look around for others who were making a stab at life without a college degree. I found that it is totally possible – but it isn’t usually something that just happens to people.
So I Quit
The decision to quit wasn’t one that was made easily.
I thought about quitting long enough that I missed several withdrawal deadlines.
But late one Friday evening it was clear. I wrote my ODU admissions advisor and asked how hard it would be to drop my classes. It was fairly simple.
So I did it. I quit. I dropped out.
Second Thoughts and Now I'm Scared
And now here I am. Looking out on the world.
In some ways I surprised myself by quitting. It isn’t like I woke up one morning and decided to quit, but it still came as a bit of a surprise to suddenly be out of school, facing the future that is now in front of me.
It’s one thing to consider dropping out of school. It’s somehow different once you do it.
To be honest. I’m a bit petrified. In a sense I feel quite vulnerable as I’ve stepped away from the thing that I thought was going to help me be able to live the life I thought I wanted.
Then there are the second thoughts. One of the biggest ones is the feeling that I’ve failed. As if college was another level in a video game called life, just another thing to pass before I can “win.” I know that isn’t true, but sometimes it feels pretty true.
But I'm Also Pretty Stoked!
Here is the thing though. As I stand here on this level bit of ground between my career as a student and what comes next… life looks pretty interesting.
One of the problems I have now is which way to go. Web design? Photography? Writing? Or one of the other things that I believe I can make a run at…?
To be honest I’m hoping to work all these things together. It’ll take some time. It’ll take a whole ton of work. But I feel good about trying!
So now my goal is to succeed in carving out a niche for myself. A niche that doesn't quite fit in the world of a cubicle and a million lines of code. But may include an office and a few thousand lines of code. :)
Find Your "Place"
I am in no way advocating that all Computer Science hopefuls should drop out of school. If that is what you read in the lines of this blog post then I have not done a very good job of conveying what I wanted to with this article.
Instead I want to introduce you to the idea, or perhaps reintroduce you to the idea that there is a place for you (and for me) in this world. The world needs you. The world needs your voice, your design, your laughter, your work ethic, your passion, the things that make you special – the part of you that is you.