People often refer to their college experience as their “Glory Days.” My time at the University of Iowa went a bit different. I came in with 80+ transfer credits I got from dual-enrollment classes in high school and one goal: get out of there as soon as possible.
Neither of my parents went to college. They’ve always placed tremendous faith in my potential and ability to succeed, but I didn’t have much guidance when it came to life as a college student. My parents raised me with something much more important than the perspective of college graduates. They raised me with the drive to work tirelessly toward success in spite of your opportunities (or lack thereof).
I chose the University of Iowa because A) I already had two years completed there (thanks DMACC) and B) I was rejected from Carnegie Mellon. I still don’t really know why I couldn’t make it into CMU but I like to tell myself it was simply a logistical error in the admissions office.
Before school started in 2014, a guest lecturer told incoming students: “Don’t be a student of the University of Iowa. Be a student of Iowa City.” I took that to heart. As soon as school started, I found a job as a web developer for MetaCommunications. This role on a marketing team became far more formative than any classes I would end up taking as a student. By 2015 I was working nearly full-time.
I think I was burnt out from all the coursework of high school. The endless AP tests and extracurriculars… I had a hard time making it to my college lectures. I didn’t graduate with a great GPA, I didn’t graduate with honors, I didn’t have an illustrious college resume that was going to take me straight to Google. But I did have a degree. Something my parents believed I could achieve since the day I was born.
My coursework at Iowa was certainly important to my understanding of Computer Science, it just wasn’t necessarily relevant to my experiences in the field. Although I had a rough time in college (I certainly wouldn’t call those two years my “Glory Days”), my time there did pave the way for future opportunities.