She was engaged

I had just been broken up with.

Kinda.

I was watching a movie with some girls.  I started crying.  One girl put her arm around me.

Later she and I talked about my heartbreak. Then we talked about hers.

She was engaged.  Her fiancé’s mom had died.  He hadn’t talked to her since.

He lived kind of far away.  She didn’t get to see him much.

We started spending a lot of time together.  I started to have feelings for her.  I didn’t do anything about them.  I kept telling myself we were just friends.  We were going through hard times together.

We went to a school dance together.  Just as friends.

Later I found out she had broken up with her fiancé.

I saw her in the computer lab the next day.  She started walking to the cafeteria.  I followed her for a little bit.  I was going to see if she wanted to talk.  Then I thought maybe she just wanted to be alone.  I went somewhere else.

Later I emailed her.  I asked her if she wanted to go to the dance.  She had already been asked.

She had wanted to talk to someone that day.  Another guy was there for her.  They started dating.  That could have been me.

The next term she didn’t go to school.  She went to Texas to help her twin sister with her wedding.  While she was gone her boyfriend cheated on her.  By then I had a girlfriend.

My girlfriend insisted that I get a haircut.  I had long hair at the time.  My friend who was cheated on was there.  She said if I had gotten a haircut earlier she might have broken up with her fiancé earlier.

I should have gotten a haircut sooner.

I don’t believe in public school

Public school is designed to turn you into a cookie-cutter cog for The Machine.  That way you can easily replace someone, and someone else can easily replace you.

We were meant to be unique individuals with unique functions.

We weren’t meant for soul-sucking jobs.

School doesn’t teach how to be happy, or any number of other skills necessary to be a functioning adult.

School doesn’t teach you to ask deep, probing questions.

School doesn’t teach you how to think, it teaches you what to think.

School is the mold.  Break it.

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.