Warning: personal entry.
I started going to college again summer term of this year. Not having a degree has never really been an issue, but new circumstances made it senseless to not work on it, if only part time. I got a new job that will almost never require more than 40 hours per week, and is located a few blocks from a school that offers night classes. So I figured I might as well work on prerequisites for a CS degree 1-2 classes at a time, and have been doing so. The 6 year plan.
But in the past several months I have been contacted by a few interested parties about my status on the job market. Some of them didn't work out for non-degree related reasons, but the opportunity of my dreams landed on my lap and I was not able to take it due to working on my degree. Believe me, that poured a LOT of fuel on my fire to finish my degree ASAP.
So after a few weeks of careful consideration, I took this previous Friday to find the answers I need to become a full time student. Whatever the cost. It will be expensive to make the transition (as in, my lifestyle will change a lot), but it is more expensive to both my career and directly in terms of salary to not finish my degree. In economic terms: if I could be making 10k extra by having my degree, then 3 years has 30k opportunity cost. So if I can finish my degree in 3 years instead of 6, then college actually costs 30k less than if I had gone part time for 6 years. And the assumption of 10k more is ridiculously understated.
But perhaps more important than the bare dollar amount is the chance to work on cool projects and make money doing so. At present, I work on a fairly boring project at my job, and then spend 40 hours a week working on open source for no pay at home. It would be great to work 80 hours on interesting stuff, and I want that as soon as possible.
My not going to college was never really a choice. I went for about 1.5 years, until I ran out of money. Then I tried to complete a FAFSA, but due to some special circumstances I wasn't able to. I thought maybe I'd wait until I'm 24 and can be considered "independent," and went back to working full time. But I'm 22 now, and too impatient to wait any longer, so I started taking classes even though I can't really afford it.
Why get a degree if it hasn't hurt me so far? 1) It will hurt me at some point, 2) I need to learn. Emphasis on the latter. There are certain applications that I want to be capable of creating, which I am not, due to my lack in knowledge of statistics, set theory, and algorithms/data structures in general. I could just self-teach myself, but I am already self-teaching myself so many other things. And I might as well work towards a tangible goal, of having a degree, while I learn.
I'm excited but a little scared. According to the admission guy I spoke with (who, incidentally, will also be reviewing my application), I'll have no problem getting into the UofMN based on GPA in college, SAT scores, and GED scores (yea, I'm a high school dropout), as long as it's all in by Oct 12. My records clearly show that I've redeemed myself from my early-day sins in high school. Wewt.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Warning: personal entry.