After five years and some change, I am now a college graduate with a BS in Software Engineering! To clarify, that is four years of schooling and one year of internship… My life has changed dramatically over this time span: academically, in terms of how I think about my career, emotionally, in how I view my relationships with other people, and internally, in how I think about myself and my goals for life. I’ve made some great friendships, traveled around a bit of the world, and learned enough to hopefully get me a job being useful to the world. This is the first time in my short life that I haven’t had a path laid out in front of me to follow, which I find to strange to think about how free I am currently.
Reflecting back on college, my first two years were a bit of a wash. I was not very serious about my degree and was all over the place. It was good to sample, to make many friends, to really get the college experience of random activities and a carefree lifestyle. One of the best decisions I made was to join CSH, a special dorm floor for people interested in computers. I’m still heavily involved with CSH and the relationships that I formed from that place have heavily impacted my life in a positive way.
Third year, I did a study abroad in Osnabrueck, Germany for six months and really had a blast. This was my first time returning to Germany since I had lived there as a child. It was a great experience to travel around as an adult and experience Europe in my own unique way. This was also great life experience, in terms of meeting new and random people from different countries and experiencing how they think and feel. I returned back to the US, for a six month internship in NYC, which again, great life experience and a verification that my career path was a good idea. It was my first “real” programming job and I loved it. NYC wasn’t that bad either!
Fourth and fifth year, after traveling and working around the world, I really started to see the big picture and settle down. My degree and reason for taking classes gained a tangible benefit, along with the end of the race being in sight. I really began to enjoy programming as it made more sense to me and I was able to accomplish more. Another internship and a senior project really helped solidify my skills.
I am moving out of my college apartment for the last time tomorrow. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing a week or a month from now, but I sure am looking forward to finding out.