Can I Graduate?

I am set to receive my Associate Degree in Computer Programming from Gwinnett Technical College in a few weeks. It’s been quite a ride. I would like to say that I don’t recommend it, but that would not be true, and it would never be that simple anyway.

Though technical/community colleges do not get the respect that 4-year universities do, the fact is that some programs, at some tech schools, require a much higher level of intellectual engagement and sheer grinding work than perhaps half of all major university programs in the country. There are some very smart, very driven people coming out of tech school right now. I know some of them. I’d hire them in a heartbeat.

I’ve been over-scheduled and over-worked for a couple of years now. The sleep deprivation, and the attendant emotional and physical exhaustion, have been intense, sometimes to the point of badly affecting my health and safety.

So, I’m tired.

And I just got a job, one that pays real money. It’s nothing glorious, and it might not last much more than six months. And it doesn’t involve moving out to California and to join the tech elite, thank god. It’s really just a really well-paying internship, honestly, but one where I’ll be doing something I like to do, and something that promises to offer a lot of opportunity in the near future. I’ll be studying JavaScript/JQuery, .NET and a few other things over the next month or so in preparation for my first day on May 5. It’s another startup, so it might not last (for any of us), but it’s a win-win for me, because the first coding job is usually the hardest one to find, and my graduating classmates and I are realizing that we are not quite prepared for a full-on job in this field: we need mentorship, we need internships, and we need real-world experience. So getting the opportunity to work for, and learn from, successful professionals is a dream come true, really, and if it only lasts six months, then I’ll be ready for the next step by then. Guaranteed.

So I’m putting in my notice at Big City Bread Cafe, where I’ve managed (and learned) for four years, and at Vitamin C Software, where I’ve interned (and learned) for three months. And I’ll spend the next 3-4 weeks finishing school and studying for my new job. And I’ll sit back and think for a minute, now and then, about all that I’ve been through, all that I’ve seen and learned and done these last few very intense years. And then Jonah and his mommy will get home and I’ll go outside and run around in the yard with my son and I’ll be shocked, again, that I could ever feel so much joy.

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