Preparing for a Happy University Life
Or how to do a really terrible job at being a student.
For the upcoming summer semester 2017 I decided to study computer science at the University of Vienna. The past couple days I worked on getting my life organized, finished long overdue TODO’s, enrolled in all my courses and read way to many threads and blog posts about how to become one of those good students that always know their stuff and seem to be ahead of everyone else. Okay, let’s not get too overconfident here. At least I tried to figure out how to not fail tremendously, finding myself waking up after three years, without credits, money or motivation. So here I am, thinking about all this and actually looking forward to learning new things. Yet this “pathetic realization of having absolutely nothing accomplished” is exactly what happened to me a couple weeks ago.
What did I do wrong the whole time? I tried really hard to figure it out, but couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer. Perhaps a better question would be: What did I do all this time? Of course I procrastinated a lot, spent too much time with friends and people I like. I even rather spent time with people I didn’t like instead of studying. I worked and even improved on my hobbies, which should be something to be happy about, though it only comforts me very little. I tried anything to run away from my actual duties, but why? Maybe I chose the wrong field of study? I kept telling myself I really love it, and if I only would sit myself down and read, I would make it, except I didn’t even try. When I think about it, I only chose it, because I didn’t think about what to do well enough. After all, it’s what my friends did too. I knew the money would be worth the afford and my teacher told me it would suit me well too, while I kind of got the impression that “programming” (aka playing with computers) isn’t exactly the bees knees (don’t ask me why).
[The rant ends here.]
After a long time of desperately trying to make it all work, I resigned and decided to call it a new beginning. I thought about my possibilities and concluded that I was being a complete idiot. I did one course at the computer science department and absolutely loved it. I spent my life on the computer, even before I could read. While spending days trying to find out how to use HM’s in Pokemon to cut down that one tree just by clicking every possible combination in my interface might not necessarily make me a predestined programmer, I did always have a huge passion for it. And for Pokemon too, of course. My hobbies included wasting days setting up random linux distros. Then breaking my whole system just to start it all over again. I enjoyed making websites for family and acquaintances and hated being the free tech-support for basically everyone. I thought I could learn all I need to know about computers on my own and dug a little bit into actual programming (not only HTML and CSS or shell scripting two hours to safe 2 clicks), but mostly playing around with things wasting time. Recently I thought about what the best way to become a professional nerd would be and finally chose to study computer science, to give my student life another chance. Why should one not do what they enjoy doing for a living? If the thing we use to procrastinate is used by others to make money, perhaps we could do so as well, instead of forcing us through lectures we only chose because of reasons like:
“That’s the smartest thing I could study”,
“makes the biggest paycheck”,
“is the purest thing to do”.
I later found out that this would probably be mathematics by the way:
So here I am again. This time prepared for whatever comes. I love the curriculum and can’t wait. If you want to know whether I will become a successful developer or a professional not-do-anything-gooder stop by from time to time and find it out. One more thing: I am not planning on just keeping journal here, instead I mainly want to use it to share experiences, realizations and computer-science, as well as student-life related problems from which I feel others could benefit as well.
Stay fresh and thank you for reading!