I was secretly relieved to get kicked out of college

I didn’t want to get stuck in a job I hated.

I didn’t want to be mistreated by employer after employer.

I was a computer science major.  I was planning on becoming a programmer.  Then I read this:

Now let’s talk about death marches, mandatory uncompensated overtime, the beeper on the belt, and having no life. Men accept these conditions because they’re easily hooked into a monomaniacal, warrior-ethic way of thinking in which achievement of the mission is everything. Women, not so much. Much sooner than a man would, a woman will ask: “Why, exactly, am I putting up with this?”

Eric S. Raymond, Women in computing: first, get the problem right

For those who are unfamiliar with ESR, he is sort of the godfather of the open-source software movement, and a master programmer.  He knows what he’s talking about.

I wanted to be able to be a family man.  That blog post didn’t give me a lot of confidence I’d be able to do that, or much else I wanted to do.

My enthusiasm about school had already started to cool.  I had to take classes I wasn’t interested in.  A lot of the work seemed like busy work.

I talked to my wife about the doubts I was having.  She left me know she would be very unhappy if I quit.  So I tried to soldier on.

I didn’t do a good job of it.  I wouldn’t do assignments.  If I did them it would be hurriedly, at the last minute.  A lot of times I skipped class altogether.

This went on for a few years.  Then when the university told me I had to switch majors it ended.

I was disappointed, but also relieved.

A few months before the end of my last semester of college, I discovered James Altucher.  Glenn Beck had him on his show to discuss an article he’d written, called 10 Reasons Why You Have to Quit Your Job This Year.

I started reading through his blog and listening to his podcast.  Among other things, he says he regrets going to college:

When I was 19, I won some money in a chess tournament. So instead of using that money for my college tuition I decided to drop out of college and buy a car.

I bought a used 1982 Honda Accord. I drove it around for a few hours since they let me drive it right out of the lot.

But when I saw my girlfriend and everyone else taking their classes I got a little jealous. I returned the car and cancelled the check and entered my sophomore year of college. But I regret it now.

James Altucher, 8 Alternatives to College

James was a college graduate.  A computer science major, like me.  He graduated college and did programming work for them for a few years.  When he got a programming job in the real world, and he couldn’t even program.

I was more conflicted that ever.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to finish school.  I wasn’t sure I wanted a programming job anymore.  I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to get a programming job if I finished school.

But I didn’t want to upset my wife.

That summer the university gave me a reprieve.

I avoid the news

I used to obsess over the news.  I’d check the Drudge Report multiple times a day.  I’d read all kinds of news articles all the way through.

I was miserable.  My wife told me I spent too much time reading the news.

I stopped going to the Drudge Report.  I checked the news less.

I started feeling better.  But still not great.

I find that I feel better if I don’t check the news at all.

Watching the news is depressing.  I gives a skewed view of the world.  It’s almost all negative.  Sometimes there will be a positive story thrown in.  But most good news doesn’t get reported.

If you’re a news junkie, try avoiding the news for 30 days.  If anything really important happens you’ll still hear about it.  See if you don’t feel better.

I didn’t finish college

I went to college right after high school.  It was a little college in a rural town.  I didn’t know anyone there.

Before long I made friends.  I started dating for the first time.

I worked hard at first.  I took seventeen credits my first semester.  I practically lived in the library.  I didn’t shower for a week.

After a couple of weeks I burned out.  I started skipping classes and not doing assignments.  I hung out with friends instead.

Or I played on the internet.

I never really used the internet before college.  Once in high school our class went to the library to do research on the internet, but I had no idea what I was doing.

In college the internet and I became best friends.  I’d spend hours in the computer lab looking up everything I could think of.  Sometimes I’d take CDs and headphones so I could listen to music while I surfed.

As the year went on my grades got worse.  After going home for the summer I got a letter saying I would have to take a term off.  I decided not to go back .

A few years later I tried teaching myself Japanese from a book I got from the library.  That wasn’t very effective, so I decided to take a college class.  Then I thought, “If I’m going to take one college class, why not take a few?”  So I signed up for several fun classes.  After a couple of years I started feeling burned out.  I didn’t know what I wanted to major in.  So I stopped going.

A few years after that I was married and had a toddler.  We were living in my in-laws’ basement.  Then I was laid off from my job and having trouble finding another.

My wife suggested that I go back to school.  She suggested that I go to the small-town school I’d gone to previously.  I’d dreamed about going back, but I didn’t think it would happen.

I jumped at the chance.  We moved just after Christmas and I started school in January.  I was going to be a serious student and get good grades this time.

I did really well the first semester.  After that my enthusiasm waned.  After a year or two I had a conversation with my wife about whether college was right for me.  She was working to support our family while I went to school, and she let me know that my degree was her hope for the future.

After five semesters at the small-town school I decided to transfer to a university in a larger town.

I was at the university for a year.  When I attempted to sign up for computer science classes for the next fall semester I got a message saying I needed to be in the computer science program.  I was already a computer science major.  I emailed my adviser to find out what was going on.

My adviser informed me that I had taken Calculus II too many times without getting an acceptable grade.  I wouldn’t be able to take it again.  I had to change majors.

I wasn’t interested in another major.  I had gone back to college to get a programming degree.

I left the university.  For a while I thought of other ways to get my degree, including online courses.  I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do.  There were other paths to success, and I wanted to pursue one of those.

It broke my wife’s heart when I told her.  She had pinned all her hopes and dreams on my degree.

Things haven’t been the same since.

Don Juan of the first grade

It must not have been that bad. I don’t remember hearing any complaints. Except for the teacher’s.

She asked my mom to meet with her after school. And to bring me.

She sat in the middle of her kidney-shaped table. My mom and I were on the other side.

I don’t remember much about that meeting. Just that she told my mom what I’d been doing and that it needed to stop.

Before school each class would make two lines. A line of boys and a line of girls.

I’d walk down the girls’ line and give them each a kiss.

I don’t remember exactly why I did it. I wasn’t in love with every girl in the class. At least I don’t think so…

I didn’t see a problem with it. I kissed my family members all the time. Even my grandpas.

I didn’t get in a lot of trouble. That’s probably because I stopped.

I didn’t kiss another girl for twelve years.

But that’s another story.

The girl who asked

Actually, she had the guy sitting next to her ask.

I was in junior high school.  I was sitting in Spanish class one day, minding my own business.  The girl sitting in front of me, and the guy sitting next to her, turned around.  He asked me if I would go out with her.

It was the first time in years a girl had shown interest in me.  I didn’t know what to to.  I think I panicked.

I don’t really remember what happened next.  I think I may have mumbled something about not being sixteen yet.

After that I pretended nothing had happened.  I think she did, too.

After that day, though, I developed a big crush on her.  I never acted on it, because I was scared.  I had a crush on her on and off until the end of high school.

I’m a Mormon

I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I was raised in the Church and I’ve been a member my whole life.  I believe in it with my whole heart.

Our beliefs make more sense to me than those of any other religion.

We are the spirit children of our Heavenly Father.

Because he is our Father, we have the potential to become like him.  We were sent to this Earth for that reason.

He knew we would make bad choices, and that there would be consequences.  A vital part of His plan was a Savior who would take our sins upon him.

That Savior is Jesus Christ.  Through his atonement every one of us can reach our full potential.

If we truly repent our sins will be forgiven.  True repentance means making a sincere effort not to make the same bad choices over and over.

“Faith without works is dead.”  If you truly believe in something, you’ll act accordingly.  You can’t just say you believe in something and then not live it.

I believe in modern-day revelation.  The world is changing faster than ever, and it doesn’t make sense to me that a loving Heavenly Father would leave His children without guidance at a time like this.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God, just as much as The Bible.  They both testify of Jesus Christ’s divinity and each reinforces the message of the other.

Families can be sealed together for eternity in temples.

Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.  He saw our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and conversed with them.  An evil man couldn’t have produced something like The Book of Mormon, and a good man wouldn’t have pretended it was true if it wasn’t.  If he was a liar, the Church would either have died with him, or it would be an insignificant cult with very few members.

You don’t have to take my word for it, or anyone else’s.  At the end of The Book of Mormon there is a promise:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Read The Book of Mormon, then pray to know the truth, keeping an open mind and an open heart.  If you do, then like millions of others. you’ll know for yourself.

I’m a dad

I wasn’t ready to be a dad.

When she showed me the pregnancy test I knew it didn’t matter. I was going to be a dad, ready or not.

I’d wanted to be married my whole life. I’d rush into relationships because I wanted to be married so bad. I’d fantasize about what marriage would be like.

I didn’t fantasize about being a father, though. I imagined it would happen at some point. I didn’t really think about it beyond that.

My dad died when I was three. I only have a handful of memories about him, all distorted by time.

I didn’t know how to be a dad.  And at first I definitely didn’t enjoy it.

I’m still not sure I know how to be a dad.  I’m easily irritated.  I get impatient.  Sometimes I make my kids cry.

I’m learning, though.  I spend time with my kids without being asked.  I spend time with them when they ask, even if I had other plans.  I even enjoy it most of the time.

There are still things I don’t like.  Telling them no.  Disciplining them.  Making them do things they don’t want to.  But I want to do what’s best for them, even if it’s not enjoyable.

Am I the best dad in the world.  Of course not.

But I’m getting there.

I’m a liar

When people ask me how I am I always say “fine,” or “good.” Liar.

My mom would ask me if I’d done something I knew she disapproved of. I’d say no, whether I had or not. Liar.

I lied to my wife about watching porn. When I told her the truth she was more upset about the lies than the porn. Liar.

I told myself I was happy when my life was clearly not going well. Liar.

I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. I’m afraid of getting in trouble. I don’t think people want to hear the truth. I don’t want to disappoint someone who I care about. So I lie.

The truth always comes out, though. And lying makes the end result worse that the truth would have been.

So why do I lie? Probably because I lie to myself. I tell myself the other person will never find out. But they will.

I tell myself I’m going to be honest from now on. Maybe even brutally honest.

Is that a lie, too?

I’m fat

400

That’s what the scale said the last time I was at the doctor’s office.

I haven’t always been fat. I was chubby as a kid, but nothing like this.

When I graduated from high school I was 6’0″ and 180 lbs.

When I went to college I started walking a lot. One time I walked with a friend to the next town, which was six miles away, and halfway back (we got a ride from some kind strangers).

When I was dating my first serious girlfriend I started drinking Mountain Dew. That’s also when I got my first car. Then she left me for someone else and I got depressed. I lived alone and didn’t have any friends. That’s when I started putting on weight.

I’m not sure if I lost weight the first time I moved back in with my mom. I know I did the second time. I went from almost 300 lbs down to about 220 lbs. Then I started gaining again.

I was 275 by the time I moved back out again, and 350 by the time I met my wife. At one point I weighed 422 or more, now it’s down to 400.

I’ve tried a few things to lose weight. I’ve tried eating salads every day. I’ve tried quitting soda and just drinking water. I’ve tried going for walks. But I’m not consistent. I have trouble sticking with the changes I make. I give up too easily.

First big crush

When I was in the first grade I had the biggest crush on a little girl in my class. I think she had a crush on me, too.

The next summer we both took swimming lessons from the same lady. Then I didn’t see her at swimming lessons any more.

She was supposed to be in my class again the next year. Her best friend was in the class, too. On the first day of school the teacher called roll. When she got to my crush’s name, her friend announced that she had moved to California. My little heart broke.

Later that year my crush came back. Just to visit. I was too nervous to talk to her.

I became convinced that my crush would move back, and I decided to wait for her. I was sure I would marry her.

Just before Christmas when I was in the fifth grade she visited again. The next May another girl gave me a note from my crush. The note said that she was in love with me. It said to meet her behind the school after school. I thought the girl had waited five months to give me the note, and I was so mad at her. I hung on to that note for a long time. I wish I still had it.

My crush came to visit again in seventh grade. I never talked to her on any of her visits, I was too scared. I had put her up on a giant pedestal.

In ninth grade a girl in my Spanish class asked me if I wanted to go out with her. I don’t remember what happened after that. But I do know that after seven long years I stopped waiting for my crush.

When I was in eleventh grade a girl in my math class announced (to the whole class in general) that my old crush had moved back. I had been right after all. But I was afraid of girls in general, and I had lost interest in my old crush.

Later I realized that she probably visited other times I wasn’t aware of, and that maybe that girl who gave me the note hadn’t waited five months. Maybe my crush waited behind the school for me that May day, and I never showed up.

I’m sorry.