Why I’m Turning Down Holberton To Life My Life

The very first post I ever uploaded to Medium was about why I was choosing to go to Holberton School… Of course, that was part of the application process so I had to write it. It wasn’t really my choice. But it really made me think of what I wanted from my schooling and my career. So here I am, back at it again. But this time rather than looking at what I want out of a career, I’m looking at what I want out of life.

Maybe I am crazy, and this is the second article I’ve mentioned that in, but as I’ve come up to these tough decisions I have realized that I’m not super well equipped to answer them. What do I want? Do I want to move to San Francisco? Do I even want to be a Software Engineer? Now the obvious answer to me is yes. But what about to the Justin that I don’t know yet? what about the man I have yet to become? I’m not even out of high school and I’m about to commit 2 years of my life (plus 3 more in repayment) to something 800 miles away from home and in one of the biggest cities in the country. I’ve never even been to a city larger than Salt Lake City, how on earth am I supposed to know if that’s what I want to do!?

So here I am, at this crossroads in my life where for the first time I have to make a decision that could potentially change the course of my entire life. Do I go to San Francisco and kickstart my career, or do I go to college and learn more about who I am and kickstart my character.


Now before I jump to the decision (Even though I kinda sorta spoiled that in the title) I want to take a step back and lay out all the details. I’ve been accepted into Holberton School. I built the website, I did the interview, and it was an awesome experience.

For those out of the loop, Holberton School is a software engineering school in San Francisco that is sort of a bridge between a computer science degree, and a bootcamp certification. It teaches through project based peer learning, emulating a sort of work environment for students. Students are on site learning for 9 months, then they get an internship for 6 months, then have a specialization for another 9 months after that. It’s an amazing program and would be great for kickstarting a career in software engineering and tuition is free until you land a job and pay 17% of your salary for 3 years.

But I also have cheer tryouts at Weber State next week. I’ve been cheering in High School for the past 2 years and have been tumbling since Kindergarten when I would wait for the bus on my head (maybe that explains a lot of my insanity…) so I’ve been looking forward to cheering in college for quite some time. Granted, my body is on the verge of falling apart from overuse, but hey, I’m not gonna be young forever. Half my senior pictures are me in my cheer uniform doing flips and stunts and that’s a big passion of mine.

There are several perks of having your girlfriend be your flyer… Several.

At Weber State I would go into computer science and work towards an AAS in CS and decide from there if I wanted to continue on to a BS. Career-wise this isn’t the most amazing route ever to take, but I think that it is enough to get my foot in the door somewhere and as long as I continue to hone my skills on the side I’ll be good.

So there’s my two options. Cheer at Weber and go into Computer Science, or go to San Francisco to Holberton. When I started the application for Holberton I never really thought of if I should go to Holberton, I only thought of whether or not I could go to Holberton. Basically I told myself if I got in, I was going. So when I got my confirmation I signed all the documents (knowing I’d have 3 days to back out) and was ready to go.

Then the anxiety hit. I started to really consider what I was giving up to go there. Did I really want to grow up so fast? Did I really want to give up that experience of cheering in college? It all hit me so fast so I decided to take a shower and that made even more thoughts race through my brain. So I did what any other rational person would do and banged my head against the wall for 10 minutes. Just kidding, but I considered it. What I really did was this:

My thought process. It’s a mess, I know.

This let me get out all the pros and cons out and helped me figure out the opportunity cost of the decisions (Hey look, Senior Economics did come in handy!). I weighed back and forth, back and forth. I felt like someone in a movie, dramatically glancing between the two decisions. I considered tallying up everything and going from there, but in the end I decided to just go with what felt right. I just feel that Weber is the better option for growing as a person. The me of last year would have thought that to be utterly insane, as I’m one more for logic, but that’s a story for another article (to be uploaded soon…)

In talking with my mom about my indecisiveness she gave me an interesting quote to ponder. I told her that I thought that I was worrying too much about my career and not so much about myself as a growing person and she shared a story about her and my dad’s early marriage that had some things to be learned about my situtation. She told me:

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”.

I’m going to Weber State for the person that I believe that I can become and for the lifestyle that I think that I need right now. Sure, there’s all these specifics I can look at, but as a whole, I just think that the college experience is what I need. I need to grow up a bit instead of all of the sudden being a grown up. I need to have the experiences of being independent, but also not completely on my own. And I need to do it in a way where I’m not tied into a career for who knows how long. It’s like my dad always says, “life’s all about being flexible”, and locking myself into something for 5 years is the anti-thesis of that.

Down the road it’s fairly likely that I could end up attending Holberton School anyway. After all, I love what it stands for and think that it could be an absolutely amazing experience. But right now I need to live my life and go be a college student and experience all that that entails. So watch out drivers, you’ll have one more student to watch out for cause he thinks he can cross the road right in front of you.

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