The Real World

Tagged as \"Real World\"

Written on 2007-06-11 07:22:00

I feel like my parents and a lot of my friends' parents are obsessed with mentioning the "real world" where they have been to their children. It's sort of held over our heads isn't it? The whole thing has just gotten built up to the point where it's ridiculous. Naturally, I relate it to things I've observed in computing, particularly hacker pissing contests over things like who has made good contributions to the field and what the technically best solutions are. That has also gotten built up to the point where it's ridiculous. I don't know whether I feel like I'm living in a different world than my parents grew up in or not. There is clear evidence that in many respects things are different but just how different and what it's effects on my life will be seem impossible to predict. But if I'm bothered by anything tonight it's how ridiculous the notion of success is and how I have no idea what to do with the thought that I'm at a supposed "make it or break it" point in my life.

Earlier tonight my mom said something to the effect of thinking I was on a path and that her and dad had faith in me so they support me. I have no idea how to react to this. I don't think I'm on "a path". I don't know what the hell I'm on most the time. I certainly don't think that I have any more of a shot at not failing at this whole "life" thing than anybody else. A lot of our debate earlier centered around the fact that I'm leaving Oglethorpe to go to a school to study Computer Science and that if I don't like that or am not good at it I'll pretty much be directly entering the workforce. Moreover, I'm going there to learn about Computer Science. If I get a degree, it will be coincidental. Frankly, that's what I want. And it scares the shit out of me. Of course, my parents are concerned about the number of doors that close when you don't have a college degree. I understand that. It concerns me too. I also am aware of the number of people working in computers that lack one. It's somewhat higher than that of other fields and I think that relates to the fact that Computer Science and Hacking have historically been fairly rebellious and were born out of a lot of countercultural elements in the 60s and 70s. The computer industry tends to be more open minded about your education than a lot of other industries. Your portfolio is a significant metric.

Anyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with computers, perhaps to my own detriment, and I can fix them or wax nerdosophical about them to my heart's content but I have never programmed them. If it turns out that I'm not good at programming I don't know what I'll do besides tech support. Basically, I just want to do something that I can make a reasonable amount of money at (I don't know what this is for me but I suspect under 40k a year,) am good at and enjoy doing. I don't know if I'll end up being that lucky. Worse still, I don't know which one (or ones) of those criteria might be the ones that fall through. I feel like things are changing. I think a lot of old power structures are showing their age and new systems are slowly working their way in. I do feel like technology has a lot to do with that and I try to keep up pretty well with technology. I don't know what it takes to "make it" when you're trying to make it outside the established system of get a degree, get a job, get a house with a white picket fence. I know that I feel like I'm part of a subset of my generation that is vastly more interested in genuinely learning and doing new things than the majority of the group and that the educational system isn't great at supporting that. Most people I know are interested in going to school, making money when and how they can, and partying or having fun the rest of the time. I do this for fun. I try to figure things out or educate myself about something (often technical). I feel like that has to be worth something. I have no idea how I get from here to the hypothetical there of "success" and yeah, I'm scared. But I don't know how to do anything else. So I'm hoping that this path actually leads somewhere and that I'm not just some stupid naive little kid who hasn't met up with the real world yet.
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