A Very Basic Education

This semester marks my return to the classroom.   Not as a teacher, but as a student.  You see a major goal of mine is to learn programming.  Code Academy helps but there is no substitute for classroom instruction.  So I decided to take advantage of my faculty status and audit one of Delta State’s computer science courses.  The topic is Visual Basic.
Ordinarily this would be where I tell you what the language is used for.  However it’s purpose has so far eluded me.  The reason I took the class was that Delta State doesn’t seem to offer much else. We’ve only created simple forms which have been extremely easy thanks to Microsoft Visual Studio.  The teacher does a good job.  However nothing I have seen so far is anything you can’t create in HTML.  Maybe in a month it will seem more useful.
Being in a classroom feels weird.  I am not a student and as an auditor am not earning credit for the course.  My goal is to pick up an extra skill.  Programming, after all, involves a certain set of concepts which are common to all languages.  Everything else is just syntax.  At least that is what I have heard.  But the point is, not being a student makes me feel somewhat out of place.
Ironically I am doing better than everyone else having gotten nothing but 100s so far.  Admittedly this is not my first programming course.  I took one on JavaScript at a community college back home and completed the track in that language on Code Academy.  Already I am seeing some commonalities between the two.  So perhaps I didn’t really need an introduction after all.  My age sets me apart as well.  I am 27 and have finished two Master’s degrees.  Most of the other students look to be only a few years out of high school.  So studying may not be at the top of their priority list. 
But it feels different than when I was in college.  Back then, especially for a lower division course, every one would show up on day one and then attendance would drop by half.  But in my class everyone comes, except for one guy who did not show up until the day of our first test.  That was an awkward moment.  But as I mentioned above showing up and studying are not the same thing.  Yesterday I overheard several guys bragging about how bad they were doing.  I would never have done that.
It is hard to believe nearly a decade has gone by since I started college.  In that time I’ve gotten my Bachelor’s, had five jobs, earned two Masters Degrees, found a full time position (in my field no less!), and moved halfway across the country.  I wonder what the next 10 years will bring?

Article by Mike

Mike is the Head of Discovery Services for the Delta State University Library. He has lived in Cleveland since May 2013.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × four =