What will the future hold for me? Where is my life headed?
Thoughts like these were constantly flooding my mind last summer. I was happy with a majority of my life (especially my relationships), but I lived aimlessly, and during those moments I often questioned my purpose. I became increasingly worried, and it led to unneeded stress, as well as a decreased effort in schooling. That’s when I decided to make a change.
It was a major decision, that was made incredibly simple. I was not happy with the direction I was headed, so I changed it. I decided to change from a Marketing major, to majoring in Management Information Systems with a minor in Computer Science. Basically, I wanted to still stay focused in business, but also follow my passion for technology. That change has made a major difference in my life.
I started this Fall with my head held high, and a new found inspiration. A fresh start was a wonderful feeling and I was excited to get to work. Classes were going well, but as a sophomore, I didn’t feel like I was doing much in the tech field. That’s when I found out about a new student group forming at FSU — TechNOLEgy.
TechNOLEgy’s stated purpose is to make computer programming a social
and interdisciplinary experience. I was excited to be a part of this group and I am glad I joined. I even became an officer in charge of media production. This led to new friends, some education, and during this time, I landed an internship. But the best outcome from this group was introducing me to the world of hackathons.
Miami. 24 hours. No sleep. Just code and creation.
Sounds awesome right? Well it was. The first hackathon I ever went to was a surreal experience. It wasn’t the best thrown hackathon in the world, but it ended my hackathon virginity and it holds a special place in my heart for that. It was 24 hours of coding, bonding, and most of all, producing.
The atmosphere of a hackathon is, simply put, epic. The race to create a product within 24 hours with little to no sleep, alongside your friends or peers, is invigorating. At first, it may be a little daunting, but I have grown to fall in love with the culture surrounding these events. So much so, I have played a major role in coordination of our very own hackathon — HackFSU.
So what is hacker culture exactly? Well, in my experience it is primarily focused on creation and learning in an open and accepting environment, among fellow hacker peers. It is the strive to make something awesome, and learn along the way, all while having a blast with friends. There are no rules, no negativity, and certainly no such thing as failure.
Immersing myself in this culture has truly changed my life outlook.
I no longer fear failing. Instead, I crave doing. I have become more productive because instead of thinking of all the ways something may not work, I simply try it out. I also find myself beginning to encourage others more. I have developed a sense of camaraderie with my peers and I wish for their success just as much as I wish for mine. Although hackathons have a competitive nature about them, to me, it is about competing against yourself to truly do the best that you can do.
I look forward to each and every day now, as I know it will hold something awesome. Hackathons have empowered me to not worry, just DO.
tl;dr — Go to a hackathon, it will change your life.