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# I spent high school in front of my computer

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### #1Promit  Senior Moderators

Posted 02 December 2011 - 06:27 PM

POPULAR

... and go do all the usual highschool things - sports, girlfriends, etc. You'll only regret it later if you don't.

Regret? Why regret?

Because you are only young once.

In a couple of years, you won't have half the time and energy you do now, to tryout a new sport, chase after that redhead, learn to fix motorcycles... But you will always have time to learn esoteric programming languages, because it's the kind of thing you can squeeze into half-hour breaks between class, work, and so-forth.

Regret? Regret?! You know, somehow I don't regret doing the same exact stereotypical garbage everyone else supposedly spends their time with in school. I don't regret having a solid five year head-start on my peers when I got to university. And I certainly don't regret that I had a resume that involved me doing stuff and building products; somehow skirt-chasing doesn't quite set you up for the future.

To be honest, I resent the implication that 'sports' and 'girlfriends' are the normal high school pursuits and everything else is squandering your youth. I also dislike the suggestion that you should strive to be normal, or that only doing fun things during high school is the right choice. It strikes me as an incredibly shallow and short-sighted bit of advice. I don't have anything against sports, really -- fitness is good, and sports can be a big door opener if you're serious. But I have a huge problem with telling our younger audience, hey, spend your time on frivolous stuff and come back when you're older. That's not right.

A bit farther down, swiftcoder does clarify the advice, but that's not at all how the original statements read. I felt it was worth bringing up as a separate discussion, because the advice as written exasperated me so badly. I'm coming up on 25 years old now; not old at all, but enough to have gained some perspective on my high school and college years. Of all my regrets from all those years, my involvement with computers and programming certainly never rates as anything other than a huge positive. It got me everything I have today in no small measure. There are threads here periodically asking 'am I too young?' or something along those lines. The way I see it, doing is the single most important force we have, and you're almost never too young to start doing what you are passionate about.
SlimDX | Shark Eaters for iOS | Ventspace Blog | Twitter | Proud supporter of diversity and inclusiveness in game development

### #2Casey Hardman  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 06:44 PM

POPULAR

I'm not going to try and get into this too much, but I'd just like to note that "doing fun things" to some is "sitting behind a computer and learning how to script, program, model, etc."
The quoted user seems to imply that chasing after girls and playing sports is the definite, static description of "fun". Plus, the "usual highschool things" seems like it could vary wildly depending on who you're talking about.

### #3Dancin_Fool  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:01 PM

It's all about balance. I had a ton of fun partying and hanging out with friends on the weekend while I was in high school. I had time to program on weeknights, plus I had a wicked c++ teacher in high school so I got to build up my programming skills while in class as well. I would completely regret if I had of missed out on all those fun times though. There's so much more to life than just computers, you have to go out and enjoy it! What better time than to do it than when you're young?

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:10 PM

The problem that keeps coming up here is everyone thinks they are always right. I would have said the same thing. What is your gripe with not having fun in the real world and meeting people? Sitting in front of a computer is 1 thing to do. If that is all you want in life, then that is boring. I partied, played several live shows in band, recorded other bands, was a well known skateboarder, hung out with drug dealers, had a g/f, job, and still at the time of attending digipen, was miles ahead of everyone. If you never had fun in high school and weren't social, then you wouldn't understand. I had so much fun and so much time to do whatever I wanted, I learned a lot more things than just programming though. Once you are older you have time for maybe 1 thing, while working 9-5. When you are young you have the time to learn a lot more, meet a lot of people, and shouldn't be burnt out.

The fact that you made a thread about it, is still your opinion. What makes you think other people don't believe that advice? I did not read the original thread. It really just sounds like you didn't do a whole lot in HS. I've met some people that are afraid to even smoke one cigarette just for the hell of it, because they are so afraid and isolated.

The thing is by your thread title you only did 1 thing, sit in front of your computer. I did that too, but I also did so much more. So your opinion is biased because you only know of 1 small world. It is all opinion at the end of the day.Starting a stupid opinion (non factual) fight with another long term member on here does no good. His post also got 8 thumbs up.

### #5Rattrap  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:10 PM

My mother will to this day say I learned to read by copying computer programs in BASIC in our TRS-80 Color Computer 2 when I was 4 (am now 31 at the time of this post). I was teaching my teachers how to use computers long before they were standard in any classrooms. So I grew up in front of one, graduated with a programming degree. Most of my work involve computers and programming, and I managed to find a wife (who is definately not into computers the way I am, but somehow still loves me) through a computer (e-harmoney). Buddies of mine through high school (and earlier) and college still get together for lan parties every couple of months. The only things I can say I have a regret involving being in front of a computer a lot of the time isis being a little ADD and had a bad habit of playing games when I should have probably been studying back in college.

"I can't believe I'm defending logic to a turing machine." - Kent Woolworth [Other Space]

### #6Promit  Senior Moderators

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:15 PM

The thing is by your thread title you only did 1 thing, sit in front of your computer. I did that too, but I also did so much more.

I think most of your post diminishes a very important central point you're making, and which I should not have neglected. Balance in life is important.
SlimDX | Shark Eaters for iOS | Ventspace Blog | Twitter | Proud supporter of diversity and inclusiveness in game development

### #7Eelco  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:20 PM

Im 100% with promit.

As for me, I dont regret spending my teens behind my computer; I think my assessment that chasing skirts was a waste of time then was an accurate one; its the rare teenage boy that gets a shot at anything worth having, and I certainly wasnt one of them. My twenties have felt like a much better time for all that, and it doesnt seem like the good times will stop rolling anytime soon.

On the other hand, I pity the fools who try to become programmers in their twenties. Its like learning to play an instrument or human language at a later age. Sure, it can be fun, and you might even develop some degree of skill, but I wouldnt be able to stand all the people coding circles around me.

### #8B O N E S  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:20 PM

Hey there, Im going to offer some feedback as a 17 year old high school senior. I think that people should just do whatever they enjoy. Some people get great satisfaction out of playing sports, etc. so they should pursue those things. Whatever floats your boat, yknow? Also, I think productivity is also important but again that means different things to everyone.

I guess I could pretty much say I`ve spent my whole high school "career" on my computer. I don't often go out with friends, party, or even focus on my schoolwork. Yet with that said, I'm not really considered a nerd at school(I'm a self proclaimed loser though heh). I've made lots of friends and acquaintances-jocks, nerds, even girls(no girlfriend though ). I'm not really a party animal because I'd rather be where I am now. Regarding schoolwork, I get decent grades(honour roll, etc.) but I could do much better if I cared more. Other people care about things like these but I'm just happy sitting in my basement. Well "sitting in my basement" is how others see it anyways. In reality, I'm on a quest for knowledge. I'm learning the way I want to and I'm having fun doing it and that's what I don't have any regrets(so far).

In the past months I've tried to change things up(well sort of). Instead of just seeking knowledge and learning, I'm trying to be more productive. There's no point in knowing everything if you have nothing to show for it. High school is almost over so my life will change a lot in the near future so I've decided to actually make a (big) game, but I digress. My main point is that there is no right path to take; everyone is different. I know that I won't have any regrets in a few years! At least I hope not

### #9Zern  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:30 PM

The problem that keeps coming up here is everyone thinks they are always right. I would have said the same thing. What is your gripe with not having fun in the real world and meeting people? Sitting in front of a computer is 1 thing to do. If that is all you want in life, then that is boring. I partied, played several live shows in band, recorded other bands, was a well known skateboarder, hung out with drug dealers, had a g/f, job, and still at the time of attending digipen, was miles ahead of everyone. If you never had fun in high school and weren't social, then you wouldn't understand. I had so much fun and so much time to do whatever I wanted, I learned a lot more things than just programming though. Once you are older you have time for maybe 1 thing, while working 9-5. When you are young you have the time to learn a lot more, meet a lot of people, and shouldn't be burnt out.

Biggest issue with statements like this, at least in my opinion is this is _MY LIFE_, not yours. What is boring to you, I might find to be the next best thing besides sliced bread. I could argue that watching sports aka grown men chase balls like dogs is utterly boring while others would highly disagree with me and the circle will continue forever. We could keep throwing arguements back and forth about what YOU feel is "FUN" or "LIVING" and I could come with counters of what I feel are "FUN" or "LIVING." In the end it is our life to live and if anyone is narrow minded to believe that their way of life, what they enjoy and dislike is the "way" things should be then they have more issues than anyone or anything I could mention and really isn't worth debating with them and wasting my time on people who are clearly a hopeless cause.

In the end the majority of these "people" who most people believe are doing "boring things" (behind computers for example) usually end up making improvements in every aspect of our life. Some people will never be thankful for anything and believe the world revolves around them. Thank god there are many who don't cave to such narrow minded aspects of others. /salute to them.

### #10Kyan  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:51 PM

To be honest, I resent the implication that 'sports' and 'girlfriends' are the normal high school pursuits and everything else is squandering your youth.

Agreed.

The implicit desire to "relive" high school also baffles me. Don't get me wrong - I had an awesome high school career. But while you'll never find that I regret anything I did you'd have to drag me, kicking and screaming, through a time portal to do it all again.

Well "sitting in my basement" is how others see it anyways. In reality, I'm on a quest for knowledge. I'm learning the way I want to and I'm having fun doing it and that's what I don't have any regrets(so far).

Good for you. Social norms change but the pleasure of spending your years as you see fit never does.

Biggest issue with statements like this, at least in my opinion is this is _MY LIFE_, not yours. What is boring to you, I might find to be the next best thing besides sliced bread. I could argue that watching sports aka grown men chase balls like dogs is utterly boring while others would highly disagree with me and the circle will continue forever. We could keep throwing arguements back and forth about what YOU feel is "FUN" or "LIVING" and I could come with counters of what I feel are "FUN" or "LIVING." In the end it is our life to live and if anyone is narrow minded to believe that their way of life, what they enjoy and dislike is the "way" things should be then they have more issues than anyone or anything I could mention and really isn't worth debating with them and wasting my time on people who are clearly a hopeless cause.

Agreed, sir. Life is short but the years are long - so why would you let someone else dictate how you spend it? Unless their posts get ... 8 thumbs up. Then perhaps you should reconsider.

### #11DarklyDreaming  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 07:54 PM

Regrets are pointless. Once you realize that, you won't spend your time wondering whether you wasted your highschool years or not.
"I will personally burn everything I've made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames."
~ Gabe

"I don't mean to rush you but you are keeping two civilizations waiting!"
~ Cavil, BSG.
"If it's really important to you that other people follow your True Brace Style, it just indicates you're inexperienced. Go find something productive to do."
~ Bregma

"Well, you're not alone.

There's a club for people like that. It's called Everybody and we meet at the bar."

~ Antheus

Posted 02 December 2011 - 08:11 PM

Biggest issue with statements like this, at least in my opinion is this is _MY LIFE_, not yours.

Exactly it is ALL OPINION. So why is this a thread. We have a side you have a side. Why is our side stupid? If you want to live life by working on a computer with yourself then thats your life and opinion. We are all programmer/computer people, but our point of view we were other things too, and we feel those other things were more important than worrying about how good of work we would do for future employers.

### #13Starnick  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 09:23 PM

Wholeheartedly agree with OP.

The way I see it, doing is the single most important force we have, and you're almost never too young to start doing what you are passionate about.

You can also say, at a younger age you will have more free time to do; far more time to tinker and have fun doing things (AND learning) that you may not otherwise explore when you're older since you simply do not have the time.

Starnick

### #14AltarofScience  Members

Posted 02 December 2011 - 09:52 PM

Wholeheartedly agree with OP.

The way I see it, doing is the single most important force we have, and you're almost never too young to start doing what you are passionate about.

You can also say, at a younger age you will have more free time to do; far more time to tinker and have fun doing things (AND learning) that you may not otherwise explore when you're older since you simply do not have the time.

The fact is that people don't make decisions. We have a base program from our genes, and then we process the determinist input from the world around us. Fun is totally relative. You are taught by input that some things are fun. If you had different input different things would be fun. Thus you can have a fucking blast your whole life doing nothing but being alone with computer shit, and you can have fun "having fun" aka chasing girls, using substances, doing various activities. If we have learned one thing from countless memoirs, journals, blogs, and biographies is that EVERYONE has regrets. Having a different lifestyle has no effect on regrets. Regrets are a function of missing things. And because all the possible activities in the world exceed our capacity, even with an infinite lifetime because every action we take creates new possibility we cannot avoid missing things. Now we can only regret what we can imagine. We are given a message about what we should be doing and if we aren't doing that we regret things. However the number of messages we get as well as our ability to enforce our actions on others, ie you regret not dating some girl but of course you can't make her date you you can only try to influence her to, limits our ability. For instance I have received both messages that the ideal life is a long term loving relationship with a nice nurturing girl, and that I want to bang as many hot girls as possible. I cannot both bang all possible hot girls and have a long term monogamous relationship with a "nice" girl. Therefore even with only 2 options I will have regrets. I also get messages about being a gamer, a punk, a skater, and a slacker, and at best I can taste each life only a little. Because of that I will always have regrets and so will you. I want to make a movie, a game, a play, do poetry, write a book on and on and on. I can't do it all. I will always wonder what if. So will you. If you are honest with yourself.

### #15MaxDZ8  Members

Posted 03 December 2011 - 03:23 AM

I agree, this advice is complete rubbish.
I think it's also fairly superficial. Doing "normal" stuff will get you being "normal"... good luck with your "normal job for normal people" those days!

Previously "Krohm"

### #16kilah  Members

Posted 03 December 2011 - 05:04 AM

I guess swiftcoder point was more about "nostalgia from your childhood" is really valuable later on. But what I think he misses is that any memory will do. Personally I have fond memories about me playing basketball in my junior year, aswell as me playing monkey island when I was 10. Anything will do, as long as you enjoy it. The point I think he is completely right about is that fitness at younger ages, specially at puberty, is important for the rest of your life (by no means this means you have to give out on learning whatever you enjoy, but you should balance it).

Cheers

P.S: You can chase redheads even after high school, no big deal about that!

### #17Cornstalks  Members

Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:27 AM

I think most of you are missing the point swiftcoder was trying to make. Of course he didn't say "stop learning to program and just be a normal person." It's all about living a well balanced life. You don't have to chase a redhead, you don't have to learn to fix motorcycles, you don't have to learn a new sport. People, that was a small sample of options from a potentially infinite list of things someone can do to help them have a well balanced life.

You are the master of your fate, and so I hope you choose what you love, but for the love of all things holy I hope you learn to love more than just programming. It doesn't have to be something swiftcoder mentioned (obviously). Do what you love, and while you're at it, find new things to love too. When swiftcoder said "usual high school things" I think he meant there are tons of options in high school (and all throughout life, for that matter) to be explored (and many of us probably had some similar options, therefore the "usual high school things"), and you should at least try exploring some of them. Take a metal/wood shop class, join a club (you can start a robotics club and do a FIRST competition, for example), make a bon fire with some friends, learn to play an instrument, learn to draw/paint (I wish I would've fostered my creative side more, 'cause it would help me with making some games), etc. Of course I'm not saying you need to do those exact things, but what I'm saying is that you've got options to explore!

There are some things you get to do in high school that you don't get to do when you're older (or, there are things you can do when you're in high school and when you're older, but high school may be the best time to try it as I doubt you have a mortgage, family, full time job, etc to worry about). At least try some of them out! You don't have to love everything, and you don't have to be (and I hope you're not) a cookie-cutter jock!

I think we all spent part of our youth programming. Some more than others, maybe. But I honestly hope, for your mental well being, that that wasn't literally the only thing you did. It may have been one thing you loved most and did most, but I doubt, and hope, that wasn't the only thing you did. Social interaction is a very critical part of a youth's development (read any book on the matter). That doesn't mean you have to be the popular kid (duh)! But you should be getting some kind of social interaction while you're in high school! You don't have to hang out with the normal kids doing normal things, and you don't have to hang out with people every night. But don't throw away the chance to have some social interactions during a critical part of your mental, social, and physical development.

Being a well rounded person* will give you a head start in life and a much better hiring potential in the workforce. That doesn't mean stop programming, stop being a geek, stop following your passion. It means that you've realized the world is a friggin' big place with tons to be explored, and that you've taken the opportunity to explore some of it!

*Gosh, people keep going on about being normal and how you don't have to be normal. You don't have to be normal! Being a well rounded person who lives a well balanced life is different from being your average Joe.
[ I was ninja'd 71 times before I stopped counting a long time ago ] [ f.k.a. MikeTacular ] [ My Blog ] [ SWFer: Gaplessly looped MP3s in your Flash games ]

### #18AltarofScience  Members

Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:32 AM

I think most of you are missing the point swiftcoder was trying to make. Of course he didn't say "stop learning to program and just be a normal person." It's all about living a well balanced life. You don't have to chase a redhead, you don't have to learn to fix motorcycles, you don't have to learn a new sport. People, that was a small sample of options from a potentially infinite list of things someone can do to help them have a well balanced life.

You are the master of your fate, and so I hope you choose what you love, but for the love of all things holy I hope you learn to love more than just programming. It doesn't have to be something swiftcoder mentioned (obviously). Do what you love, and while you're at it, find new things to love too. When swiftcoder said "usual high school things" I think he meant there are tons of options in high school (and all throughout life, for that matter) to be explored (and many of us probably had some similar options, therefore the "usual high school things"), and you should at least try exploring some of them. Take a metal/wood shop class, join a club (you can start a robotics club and do a FIRST competition, for example), make a bon fire with some friends, learn to play an instrument, learn to draw/paint (I wish I would've fostered my creative side more, 'cause it would help me with making some games), etc. Of course I'm not saying you need to do those exact things, but what I'm saying is that you've got options to explore!

There are some things you get to do in high school that you don't get to do when you're older (or, there are things you can do when you're in high school and when you're older, but high school may be the best time to try it as I doubt you have a mortgage, family, full time job, etc to worry about). At least try some of them out! You don't have to love everything, and you don't have to be (and I hope you're not) a cookie-cutter jock!

I think we all spent part of our youth programming. Some more than others, maybe. But I honestly hope, for your mental well being, that that wasn't literally the only thing you did. It may have been one thing you loved most and did most, but I doubt, and hope, that wasn't the only thing you did. Social interaction is a very critical part of a youth's development (read any book on the matter). That doesn't mean you have to be the popular kid (duh)! But you should be getting some kind of social interaction while you're in high school! You don't have to hang out with the normal kids doing normal things, and you don't have to hang out with people every night. But don't throw away the chance to have some social interactions during a critical part of your mental, social, and physical development.

Being a well rounded person* will give you a head start in life and a much better hiring potential in the workforce. That doesn't mean stop programming, stop being a geek, stop following your passion. It means that you need to realize the world is a friggin' big place with tons to be explored, and that you've taken the opportunity to explore some of it!

*Gosh, people keep going on about being normal and how you don't have to be normal. You don't have to be normal! Being a well rounded person who lives a well balanced life is different from being your average Joe.

If that was what swift coder meant, which you haven't proven, just speculated on with no evidence, perhaps that is what swift coder should have said, instead of saying what he actually said. If swiftcoder spent so much time learning to socialize, why didn't he gain more effective communication skills?

### #19DarklyDreaming  Members

Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:34 AM

I think most of you are missing the point swiftcoder was trying to make. Of course he didn't say "stop learning to program and just be a normal person." It's all about living a well balanced life. You don't have to chase a redhead, you don't have to learn to fix motorcycles, you don't have to learn a new sport. People, that was a small sample of options from a potentially infinite list of things someone can do to help them have a well balanced life.

You are the master of your fate, and so I hope you choose what you love, but for the love of all things holy I hope you learn to love more than just programming. It doesn't have to be something swiftcoder mentioned (obviously). Do what you love, and while you're at it, find new things to love too. When swiftcoder said "usual high school things" I think he meant there are tons of options in high school (and all throughout life, for that matter) to be explored (and many of us probably had some similar options, therefore the "usual high school things"), and you should at least try exploring some of them. Take a metal/wood shop class, join a club (you can start a robotics club and do a FIRST competition, for example), make a bon fire with some friends, learn to play an instrument, learn to draw/paint (I wish I would've fostered my creative side more, 'cause it would help me with making some games), etc. Of course I'm not saying you need to do those exact things, but what I'm saying is that you've got options to explore!

There are some things you get to do in high school that you don't get to do when you're older (or, there are things you can do when you're in high school and when you're older, but high school may be the best time to try it as I doubt you have a mortgage, family, full time job, etc to worry about). At least try some of them out! You don't have to love everything, and you don't have to be (and I hope you're not) a cookie-cutter jock!

I think we all spent part of our youth programming. Some more than others, maybe. But I honestly hope, for your mental well being, that that wasn't literally the only thing you did. It may have been one thing you loved most and did most, but I doubt, and hope, that wasn't the only thing you did. Social interaction is a very critical part of a youth's development (read any book on the matter). That doesn't mean you have to be the popular kid (duh)! But you should be getting some kind of social interaction while you're in high school! You don't have to hang out with the normal kids doing normal things, and you don't have to hang out with people every night. But don't throw away the chance to have some social interactions during a critical part of your mental, social, and physical development.

Being a well rounded person* will give you a head start in life and a much better hiring potential in the workforce. That doesn't mean stop programming, stop being a geek, stop following your passion. It means that you need to realize the world is a friggin' big place with tons to be explored, and that you've taken the opportunity to explore some of it!

*Gosh, people keep going on about being normal and how you don't have to be normal. You don't have to be normal! Being a well rounded person who lives a well balanced life is different from being your average Joe.

^This.

I was waiting for someone to take the reasonable approach and actually try to "get" what Swiftcoder was saying. Look guys and gals, this isn't anything controversial -- all he said was (translated between the lines): "Learn something new, experience life - you are only young once; take advantage! Programming will still be around when you get back."

Is there really worth such a huge fuss over something so trivial as a comment encouraging a youngster to enjoy a bit more of what life's got to offer?
"I will personally burn everything I've made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames."
~ Gabe

"I don't mean to rush you but you are keeping two civilizations waiting!"
~ Cavil, BSG.
"If it's really important to you that other people follow your True Brace Style, it just indicates you're inexperienced. Go find something productive to do."
~ Bregma

"Well, you're not alone.

There's a club for people like that. It's called Everybody and we meet at the bar."

~ Antheus

### #20Cornstalks  Members

Posted 03 December 2011 - 08:36 AM

If that was what swift coder meant, which you haven't proven, just speculated on with no evidence, perhaps that is what swift coder should have said, instead of saying what he actually said. If swiftcoder spent so much time learning to socialize, why didn't he gain more effective communication skills?

Maybe he did and maybe I did understand him correctly? That's how I've understood him from the beginning, and he later added the importance of living a well balanced life, thus reinforcing my understanding of what he said. I seriously don't mean to be a dick when I say this next statement, but... maybe he's not the one lacking effective communication skills?

Swiftcoder, if I've misunderstood what it was you were trying to say, please correct me. I doubt I have though.
[ I was ninja'd 71 times before I stopped counting a long time ago ] [ f.k.a. MikeTacular ] [ My Blog ] [ SWFer: Gaplessly looped MP3s in your Flash games ]

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