I didn’t think I’d end up saying this, but…

…I’m kind of liking C.

I think the main thing is that I don’t have to use an IDE and my brain is still rebelling against all the Visual Studio crap I’ve been putting up with for the past eight weeks straight.

School classes don’t really teach you to program, I think. They give you credentials and those are very useful; they introduce you to other programmers and that’s awesome; you get access to more expensive equipment and you get introduced to parts of the tech world you wouldn’t otherwise find–that’s great. But even though I’m a programming major, they haven’t actually taught me much programming. It’s really weird. The classes hop from language to language and they don’t really focus on teaching you one–just one!–and then letting you learn other languages more quickly for having gained in-depth knowledge of programming in general.

And if they do teach more than just a bit of a language, it’s always using Visual Studio. My Java class was the exception, but again, it didn’t go in-depth. Even the web design class used (ewww) Dreamweaver. (Good thing I already knew how to write HTML and CSS correctly.)

I wish there hadn’t been so much politics in high school… wish I’d figured out I could just take their college classes and GED out sooner than I did. Then maybe I wouldn’t have spent so much energy on trying to make them let me skip classes, and I’d have self-taught more. Instead I ended up letting schooling interfere with my education.

Probably why I’ve managed to continue learning programming so long without actually entering “larval stage.” Everything was too simple to hold my attention, or I was focused on school politics, or I was being fed Microsoft’s “we won’t tell you how this actually works” crap–and while I enjoyed it even so, the obsessive learning drive that I’ve actually seen get triggered in myself for other subjects (notably psychology; I spent about a month or two in freshman year of HS binge-studying MBTI and separating the useful from the BS) never really triggered for programming. I think it has now–which is a Happy Thing, because I really enjoy latching onto a subject and spending mass amounts of time learning all about it.

Larval stage, if you don’t already know, is the hackerism term for… well, I’ll let the Jargon File explain it. I stumbled across the Jargon File about a year and a half ago and was always kind of amused by the evoked image of a sort of technological/intellectual puberty stage in members of the hacker culture. Like, you’d wind up huddled in a darkened room, in a cocoon of tech, dirty laundry, snack wrappers, and caffeinated beverages, and after you’d finally achieved a satisfactory level of expertise in computer systems, you’d “snap out of it,” stumble out into the Real World, and finally realize what happened. Then you’d just go back to coding, and your computer would finally declare: “Harry, you’re a wizard.”

Probably that actually happens with some people, knowing computer geeks. I tend to be the odd one out among geeks most of the time, though. Hopefully I can avoid some of the crazier “symptoms,” although I do need to work on being able to concentrate for long periods of time–my brain tends to fizzle out after a few hours of working on code, and the recovery time from that is longer than I’d like.

You know what’s great? It feels like spring here. I’m sitting at my desk, with the window in front of it wide open, and the fresh air and sunlight are doing incredible things to my mental clarity. I am sick of winter; Iowa winters are awfully long and cold. Not like Minnesota winters, but still. Maybe I should look at transfer colleges that are south of here. No more seasonal affective issues for me! That’d be nice.

I should find something to eat, I’ve been messing around on the computer all afternoon.


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