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mikeishere

mixed feelings at Uni

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Hello folks
I need some advice

I'm currently a freshman (18 y.o.) at a large Big 10 uni with a very good computer science program. I did not start programming until this past summer, but I really really like it. I'd say my c++ skills right now are halfway between absolute beginner and intermediate (havent been able to dedicate a huge amount of time to it cuz of uni), so I still have a long way to go. Anyways, the problem for me is I feel like uni is not going to help me at all in becoming a game developer. I feel like I can teach myself better/faster than most courses I will take here. Moreover, I can learn what I want when I want.
If I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for a career other than that it would be computer science related, I would not have a problem staying in uni.
The thing is I really like programming but only in the context of being a game developer in the future. I don't want to want a programming career in anything else. Period.

Here is a list of pros and cons for I have come up with for dropping out of uni
(I'm definitely going to school next semester so I have some time to think this over)

Pros
- Much more time to dedicate to game programming
- Save close to $100,000 (parents' money) that I would spend on next 3 years of tuition
- Don't have to worry about keeping up my grades in classes where I have only lukewarm interest

Cons-
- Will be missing out on a lot of the social benefits on Uni
I don't "party" but I do enjoy the company of others my age with similar interests which would be hard to find if I dropped out of school.
Additionally, there is much more access to attractive women my age here than if I wasn't going to school.
- No "insurance" (i.e. a degree) if game programming doesn't work out for me.
- Parents/family members will be disappointed (not really a big deal though)
- I could still work on game dev. in my spare time (one has quite a bit as an undergrad) but note that is hard to focus on such when you have your actual classes constantly on your mind. At least that's the way it is for me.

I've been incredibly stressed over this for the past few weeks and am quite lost on what to do. Hopefully some of you can give me useful insight on how to move forward.

Thanks in advance

|||| Side-Note |||| - You may find this relevant. Humility aside, I am a rather intelligent person with an IQ of 140 (not on the super genius level of Bill Gates, Zuckerberg etc but it would be the next tier). I am able to digest and apply new concepts rather quickly (which is why I generally prefer teaching myself over a uni course). |||| Side-Note ||||

Edit: Forgot to add- The computer science degree at my uni is almost entirely in Java Edited by mikeishere

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The basic problem is this: You're too young and inexperienced to know what's important -- that's not a jab at you, its just a statement of the youthful hubris that most college-aged people have.

And to re-iterate Frob, University is not job training -- if you want job training go to a technical school, and you can expect all the usual bias that entails whether justified or not.

There's a certain air of "I can't be bothered to do stuff that's not immediately interesting to me" in your post. Its perfectly normal to be completely unjazzed about certain courses you'll have to take, or for their relevance to be completely opaque to you at the current time, but there's usually a reason they've survived as part of the curriculum over the years.

Fundamental learning and variety of knowledge is important for your ability to grow and stretch your capability now and in the future. University is not about putting you into one form or another, its about giving you the substance to take on the form that your work will demand, and to adapt to new forms over time.

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Hey man,

I was in a similar position over the summer. I m studying computer science in one of the top uni's in the uk of its field (glasgow) and i enjoyed the 1st year course but then in the second year things went crappy , i wont blame the entire course for my failure as i played some part in that as well but long story short over my 6 courses i had passed 5/6 of them but the one i failed required a mandatory min. grade of D which i failed to get so i was forced into not only resitting that course but also 3 other courses which i had previously passed because the comp science department decided to raise the requirements (which should have taken place in the next scholar year instead of the summer resit) for passing into 3rd year. I managed to pass yet again all three of my other subjects but failed to pass that one same subject (i had intense migraines on the day of my most important resit and even with a doctor's notice i was showed very little compassion by my department). This was the first time i had failed in anything i have ever done in my life so far so it took great thought on whether or not i should have gone back to uni this year and try to redo a whole year of uni spent abroad( cause im not originally from glasgow...im from cyprus which is a good shit load of miles away) for one 10 credit course ( a year here consists of 120 credits, and i even took 130 the year i failed).In the end i had to swallow my pride and come back here and attempt to pass that course again, at this stage i started hating programming and anything that had to do with computing science. But with time and patience i came back (the course i need to pass isnt till the 2nd semester) and i also got accepted into a MA program for Digital Media studies which is going really well so far (fingers crossed) and i was also selected by a company to take their Gamer's Developer Course thanks to an ad i saw during one of my Digital Media lab sessions. So far things are going really well after such a crappy summer and i came to the conclusion if i want to make it out there im gonna have to at least get formal university degree(whether that will be an MA in Digital Media or a BA in Comp Science,only the future knows) and i am not regretting the decision of coming back because it has and will change my life. University is a treasure of opportunities that you will never get if you just sit around at home, you need to take a chance in it and try to do your best cause so far for me even though things sucked majorly for a while , i m finally and hopefully back on track and im even a step closer to where i wanna go thanks to this twist of faith (i.e. taking another course which in the end introduced me to an official accredited gaming course).

Hopefully i ve helped you out a little with my story, and who knows what the future holds,never close a door full of opportunities if you can still have access to it man :) (oh and btw i only just turned 20 so hopefully i dont seem like an old and wise geezer who's just spewing out advice...im still in the learning process of life just like you are :)

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As others have pointed above, University is not training you for a job, but it will teach you how to LEARN. This is the most important thing I have come out of from University: I have gained the ability to learn. Indeed you can learn by yourself too, but when in school - you have a prof (a mentor let's say) and colleagues (which in the future will be the equivalent of co-workers). No person in this world lives their life on their own. You need to experience being/talking/interacting with others. The actual details you learn during your courses will not necessary help you FIRST HAND in your job (or maybe they will less than 5% of the time), but the fact that you are going through those courses, doing the labs, the exams, learning the theory, etc is what's going to make you that much of a better person in the future.

Also, a good advice for anyone doing technical majors in school is to try to take as many electives as possible that are OUTSIDE technical subjects. (ie - take arts, philosophy, psychology, etc). You will become a well rounded person and that helps a lot, especially in game design / game development.

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Let me put it this way as a game programmer who recently returned to University to get my degree. You DO NEED the degree to do anything remotely useful in game development.


Topics that you will need to know that only Univeristy can teach you are:
- Physics
- Animation
- 3D graphics (not how to use OpenGL or DX but the actual algorithms used)
- Multivariable calculus and differential equations (required for graphics and animation)
- Linear Algebra (required for graphics and animation)
- Data Structures (required in all programming)

I know the saying that you can learn anything on your own but in reality, it's not true unless you're Isaac Newton. The programming language the school uses to teach you is irrelevant as your concern should be the algorithms and how to implement them. So stay in school, study hard and apply what you learned a little at a time. Edited by ssrun

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