Friday, April 11, 2008

Schools out forever

A forgiveness ... this post isn't specifically about Open Source (although mandrake and gentoo are two major actors in my tale)... i just know that my Open Source label will provide me with an audience.

Today was my last day of class -- ever. I'm remarkably sad. I may yet return to school someday, but the kindergarten -> Job lifecycle is complete for me.

This tale is about my experience with Seneca College.

I've learned a great deal with Seneca. C++, OOP, .NET, UML, DirectX, Open Source, how to integrate yourself into a business, what business wants, etc. While I'm not sure how much was curriculum, and how much was personal interest, I am definitely a programmer able to enter the work world and be productive because of the guidence Seneca has given me. Even if Seneca's curriculum did not directly educate me on all matters (eg. Seneca is in no way responsible for me knowing how to install various Linux distros on machines... perhaps the curriculum should look into this... perhaps the various install-fests are all that is needed) it certainly provided me with a good environment in which to foster my self interest.

I'm going to answer questions in this post which I should have spoken up @ a meeting I had with my schools chair & a government deputy minister.

Why did I come to Seneca all those years ago? How come I pursued a degree at a community college rather than somewhere like the UofT?

1) After working at a deposit broker for 2 years doing SQL-like procedural code, I realized how really little I understood about computers -- although I claimed to know a lot. I had just been experimenting with Mandrake Linux and Gentoo and found it so nifty... I could run a webserver on my own machine awesome!!! I could compile my own hardware kernEL AWESOME!!!

2) I needed out of my hometown. I lived with my parents in a big old country house, and life was pretty sweet. My girlfriend had a car and would come pick me up, then give me armloads of candy and we had a lot of fun. but I still needed out. I needed my own life and my own things and I was not willing to settle.

3) I knew that a University would creditialize me better, but I wanted to learn real practical things. I was not really interested in my employability, rather than what cool computer things I could do for myself. eg I want to make video games, just not necessarily for a living (although it would certainly be cool). I knew Seneca to be the best college in 'learning cool things.' The UofT degree certainly turns more heads than Seneca... but I wanted the Seneca curriculum (sans business classes)

4) One Profs website claimed he hated haircuts... I hate haircuts too, obviously I am meant for this school.

Now, there was a little bit of vanity in wanting a Degree rather than a Diploma (BSD is rather similar to the diploma offerings from Seneca... you can think of the BSD as 25% harder/longer than the CPA specialization), but I also knew that I would be more employable with the BSD.

To be honest, Im not sure if I should have. Certainly the extra difficulty brought out something more in me, and I therefore learned with more intensity... but some of the subjects of the BSD are just plain uninteresting to me. For example, I really dont care about my business classes, other than the base fundamentals, I dont particularly want a job where those skills are needed. The business classes are a major factor in BSD differentiating itself from CPA though. Perhaps I would have been happier to drop these business classes and have a more enjoyable club life. I had far too much homework for the linux club which is just hanging out with other nerds who also like linux... the social aspect would have been nice, but I've only seen my highschool buddies a double handful of times over the past 4 years I was in Toronto :( .

However I am surely making more money in the future... which is important to me NOW at the end of the journey than it was at the beginning ... because of BSD.

Thats why I came to Seneca. It seems to have been a good choice.

Anywho, I want to give a thank you to my Profs, McIntyre, Letterio, Leung, Samuel, Boychuk, Czegels, Lennon, Cullen, Adames, Norman, Onzekizologlu, Anastasiade, Roy.

I specifically want to single out three Profs

Szalwinski: For having a truely heroic work ethic, and providing a role-model image for how to get work done.

Weaver: For giving me a really, really cool job, and introducing me to mind-blowing C concepts. Allowing me to flourish as a programmer. For hating haircuts.

Humphrey: For showing me the open source way. For letting me choose between safety and dreams... twice.

1 comment:

dave said...

Mike,

Thanks for your thoughts as you leave us for the last time. I'm thrilled to have had a student as motivated and exceptional as you. It will be a long time before I have another student of the same quality as you. The questions you asked in class, your willingness to engage in whatever process I put in front of you, and your passion for the material outside of a purely academic setting are all something I'll remember.

I wish you good luck as you start your career, and hope you'll keep in touch, and keep blogging.

Dave