Here is a quick rant about something I learned from reading my personal diaries from back in the college days..
The idea is that something changed when I graduated from college. It seems projects started taking way too much time to complete, passion for programming isn’t as radiant as back then, and something was really off.
I won’t explain it from my perspective, just to make it more interesting.
During the college days, people rarely have time to do anything besides getting that shitload of work over with. Homeworks, projects, presentations, exams, … name your poison, basically.
During that struggle, you learn a lot, and come across interesting topics (given you joined the field you like!). Even with all that focus taken away by college, there is this passion for programming that pushes you to do more than college.
Complaining about how college eats up your time, you still work hard to leverage whatever free time is left after college. You really cherish that free time, and make sure that it doesn’t go to waste. It might come with some solitary, but your obsession with work doesn’t allow you to think about anything but getting work done.
Depending how satisfied you are with your college results, that could be a huge fuel tank for you to keep doing what you’re doing on the side.
Biggest benefit of all time… Not much to worry about during college, is there? You’re all set to be stuck there for at least 4 years, and that’s what’s gonna happen. Your mind is free to focus on now, and how you’re gonna get through this.
Now, during the limited free time you have, you’re always thinking, “When I finish college, it is gonna be working on my passion full-time”, “I need to be fully dedicated to passion without letting anything distract me”, and so on…
College has ended! You graduated! You take a vacation, celebrate, do whatever that is you do, and … now what? Assuming you didn’t establish your company during college, it’s time to put some money in your pocket, right? You need to find a job…
Oh wait, even if you get a job, your time schedule is predictable. Your friends and family will start bugging you non-stop! It’s not like you can spend your free time working on side projects, while they think you’re actually studying. The obligations list grows..
Ok, so I need to find a job in programming, right? That shouldn’t be hard, I’ll be working passionately there…
I’m afraid that is not the case. Mixing your passion with other, possibly bureaucratic, cultures isn’t wise. Worst case, it might turn your passion into a nightmare that you start to hate… Unless you found the perfect job that really caters to your needs, the journey continues…
All that is to say one thing:
The transition from college to whatever comes afterwards is not easy… You’re basic lifestyle for the past 16 years or so has fundamentally changed, and everyone has their opinion of what you must be doing… Things are looking strange and unclear.
What would be my advice to you at this point is this:
- Start off by testing what you think you want to be doing. Set an unbreakable rule to keep it at like it was college, for at least 3 months.
- By that time, you’ll learn more about yourself, and if that wasn’t what you like, make another guess, and do that for another 3 months.
- Rinse and repeat.
Helpful metrics that you should stick to:
- Keep a diary. Write your feelings rather than events. It doesn’t matter that you wrote 100 lines of code, it matters how you felt about it.
- Stay focused, and don’t worry about “what’s next”. At that point, you’re hopefully young, and can recover easily if anything bad happened.
Now, I have no idea if that is just me, or if what I’m saying makes any sense .. It’s really hard to put your finger on these things. But, whatever.. I’ll just post this, and you can pour to your heart’s content how you’re experience was in the comments.