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I spent high school in front of my computer

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[quote name='Promit' timestamp='1322872067' post='4889968']
I don't regret having a solid five year head-start on my peers when I got to university.[/quote]
Let's be very clear about this: I had the exact same head-start when I hit university, despite pursuing all the other stuff. I even was waived my entire first year of CS courses, based on my background in programming.

[quote]somehow skirt-chasing doesn't quite set you up for the future.[/quote]
Perhaps not, [b]but social skills do[/b]. Chasing girls seems to be the major motivator for developing social skills at that age, so I used it as an example. Computer club (or, god forbid, Chess club) might work just as well for another person.

[quote]I also dislike the suggestion that you should strive to be normal[/quote]
Sitting in the basement, hunched over a linux box is any less stereotypical? Please.

[quote]The way I see it, [i]doing[/i] is the single most important force we have, and you're almost never too young to start doing what you are passionate about.[/quote]
Riddle me this: how do you know, at age 14, that computers are, with absulolute certainty, the one-and-only thing you are ever going to be passionate about? Especially if you have never tried anything else.

Because you know what? I'm very passionate about computers. But I'm also passionate about sailing, playing guitar, discovering import ciders, and let's face it, chasing redheads. And I never would have experience all those things, if I had locked myself in a room with my computer.

I guess my bottom line, is that if you are only passionate about [b]one[/b] thing in your life, then I pity you very deeply.

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[quote name='swiftcoder' timestamp='1323620197' post='4892815']
I learned it one hell of a lot more efficiently once I got to university (I think a side-effect of having better thought-out goals by that age)
[/quote]

Actually, that probably has more to do with the development of your brain. In my psychology class the teacher had almost an entire class devoted to showing that the human mind is at its peak from ages 20 -25. Before this the mind is too fluid to form truly complex concepts. After that point the mind slowly gets so rigid it becomes harder and harder to learn new concepts.

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[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1323622945' post='4892829']
Actually, that probably has more to do with the development of your brain. In my psychology class the teacher had almost an entire class devoted to showing that the human mind is at its peak from ages 20 -25. Before this the mind is too fluid to form truly complex concepts. After that point the mind slowly gets so rigid it becomes harder and harder to learn new concepts.
[/quote]

While I don't doubt this for more general topics, in the US CS education sucks in high school. It's probably just as much to do with him not being surrounded with anyone who really has a deep knowledge of CS on a regular basis. When you go from having a teacher who took a couple CS classes in university but primarily teaches math for 1 hour a day and compare that with having 5 professors with a doctorate in CS who're constantly doing research on the topic you're probably going to gain more just from that.

In the case of math, high school can get some very good teachers, but CS is just an afterthought for most schools. I think even art has higher standards in high school.

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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1323626652' post='4892848']
[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1323622945' post='4892829']
Actually, that probably has more to do with the development of your brain. In my psychology class the teacher had almost an entire class devoted to showing that the human mind is at its peak from ages 20 -25. Before this the mind is too fluid to form truly complex concepts. After that point the mind slowly gets so rigid it becomes harder and harder to learn new concepts.
[/quote]

While I don't doubt this for more general topics, in the US CS education sucks in high school. It's probably just as much to do with him not being surrounded with anyone who really has a deep knowledge of CS on a regular basis. When you go from having a teacher who took a couple CS classes in university but primarily teaches math for 1 hour a day and compare that with having 5 professors with a doctorate in CS who're constantly doing research on the topic you're probably going to gain more just from that.

In the case of math, high school can get some very good teachers, but CS is just an afterthought for most schools. I think even art has higher standards in high school.
[/quote]

Why does that matter? I never even went to school and picked up programming on my own. The internet has all of the information you could ever want on programming.

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[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1323702023' post='4893120']
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1323626652' post='4892848']
While I don't doubt this for more general topics, in the US CS education sucks in high school. It's probably just as much to do with him not being surrounded with anyone who really has a deep knowledge of CS on a regular basis. When you go from having a teacher who took a couple CS classes in university but primarily teaches math for 1 hour a day and compare that with having 5 professors with a doctorate in CS who're constantly doing research on the topic you're probably going to gain more just from that.

In the case of math, high school can get some very good teachers, but CS is just an afterthought for most schools. I think even art has higher standards in high school.
[/quote]
Why does that matter?
[/quote]

For the same reason that owning a textbook is not the same as taking a course. Having access to knowledge is a very small part of learning in my experience.

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[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1323705284' post='4893144']
[quote name='SteveDeFacto' timestamp='1323702023' post='4893120']
[quote name='way2lazy2care' timestamp='1323626652' post='4892848']
While I don't doubt this for more general topics, in the US CS education sucks in high school. It's probably just as much to do with him not being surrounded with anyone who really has a deep knowledge of CS on a regular basis. When you go from having a teacher who took a couple CS classes in university but primarily teaches math for 1 hour a day and compare that with having 5 professors with a doctorate in CS who're constantly doing research on the topic you're probably going to gain more just from that.

In the case of math, high school can get some very good teachers, but CS is just an afterthought for most schools. I think even art has higher standards in high school.
[/quote]
Why does that matter?
[/quote]

For the same reason that owning a textbook is not the same as taking a course. Having access to knowledge is a very small part of learning in my experience.
[/quote]

Just having the text book can be far better than taking the course. This entirely depends on you and your willingness to take the time to read the text book and practice the skills in it.

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My high school had half programming and half hanging out. Though I didn't hang out with the 'popular' kids, but I never wanted to hang out with them anyway. I had my share of ditching classes, partying, gf, and all that.

My anti-social didn't begin to kick in until freshman college when I try to catch up with programming, though I reversed that during junior and senior year.


My biggest regret I didn't do in high school? Not finding anybody else passionate about game programming.. :/

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Opinions. People are allowed them and you are suggested to respect them, whether or not you agree with them.

Be happy in who you are and don't let other people opinions belittle you.

I for one wished that I had done more programming in my high school years so that I had more time at university to get further ahead. I hear about people who have been programming since they were in their early teens and I'm jealous of those. All I can do now is try my best to get where I want to be.

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My school years were pretty pants, had to move to a different part of the UK when I was in year 10 (second to last year of school) and subsequently I didn't have many friends at my new school so did tend to spend alot of time inside on the computer, though I did find time for the normal going out at the weekends to a mates house and getting drunk on half a bottle of White Lightening. When I went to College I still spent a lot of time on the computer, but as I was doing a BTEC in Software development I think this was acceptable.

I have never wished I was back in school and I don't think I wasted my youth because I wasn't out playing sport or chasing girls (much). I'm of the opinion that most people who bang on about your school years being the best years of your life are normally the people who have ended up in a rut in a job they don't enjoy and don't want to put any effort into making their lives more interesting.

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For some reason I never had great teachers in high school (or maybe I always set my standards too high), so I walked out of high school having learned almost nothing that I didn't already know or couldn't figure out with a trip to the library or on the internet. In high school most of the other kids just seemed immature and plain inconsiderate of others sometimes. It's well-known that kids are cruel when in a group but some of the behavior I've seen in high school hardly even belongs to preschool. To put it simply the others didn't interest me - they didn't seem to be able to communicate with me in a productive way, or maybe the other way round. This is also why I hate small talk and social niceties, they are just redundant. But there were always other people similar to me, eager to learn and not waste time sitting in class listening to the same thing over, and over, and over, again, because some moron in the back row still didn't get it because he was chatting with his friends, so of course the whole learning process needs to grind to a halt, backtrack, and pick up that guy, which can be a monumental waste of time. Half the time in high school I wasn't even listening to my teachers - I was either reading books below the desk or sometimes literally sleeping. High school, in my opinion, was a total waste of time in terms of learning functional knowledge, although it did have the benefit of getting me to find friends, which helped me develop needed social skills.

I didn't have much for family life, as my family tended to move around a lot until they settled in New Zealand, so other than direct parents there's no one else in the country that's part of my family. My dad never really encouraged me much, and my mum was usually always busy and never really had much time for me, so home I always felt quite alone.

So after having said all of that, yes, I had friends, yes, I had a social life (I just didn't have 500 friends on facebook and 20000 twitter followers, a couple close friends was more than enough for me), and of course being the geek I am, computers attracted me from the youngest age. I started fiddling around with computers probably at the age of 6, and naturally after getting bored with the games that could be run on it, I started to wonder, what happens if I delete this file, would it still work if I renamed that directory, etc... (which resulted in the death in numerous operating systems - RIP), and then at the age of 10 or so I discovered I could actually get the computer to do what I wanted. Amazing! And so began my passion of programming, discovering that one could actually harness the immense power of that big mysterious box full of wires and LEDs, for any purpose, and not restricting oneself only to what was available. It was a revelation - one I wish anybody (even the so-called "popular" kids back in high school) could have experienced, probably one of the best moments of my life.

Long story short, just because computers are inherently "geeky" and connotated anti-social, doesn't mean the shy kid you used to laugh at in high school didn't have as complete and fulfilling a life as yours. He just followed a different path - his path, and just because yours involves chasing skirts and kissing girls, playing sports and having a ludicrously extensive social life, doesn't make it any more valid than his. Sure, he might be missing on some stuff you deem important, but you may also be missing out on some stuff he deems important. It's your values against his and all are equally valid.

So live your life as you wish, do things your own way, and don't just follow the group because everybody else is doing it. It's all about personal integrity - don't let others directly influence the way you act (of course take into consideration what people say, but don't blindly do what they tell you to do), and do what feels right to you.




[b]TL;DR[/b]: I spend high school in front of my computer too, and I don't regret it a bit. I did acquire the social skills needed to effectively interact in a community, but in addition I also learned a whole lot more than if I just listened to my teachers. I believe I made the right choice for myself, and that's something no one else but myself can argue with.

To be honest most people who tell you you wasted your youth because you spent them in front of a computer screen are mostly people that ended up in crappy jobs because they never bothered to learn anything young, and so their only happy memories are their high school years. Ironic.

Sorry about the long post :o


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