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.