I am owned by several dogs and cats. I have been playing non-computer roleplaying games for almost five decades. I am interested in all kinds of gadgets, particularly knives, flashlights, and pens.

  • 3 Posts
Joined 1 year ago
Cake day: June 15th, 2023


  • This is my personal experience. Feel free to skip it.

    I was lucky in a number of ways. I started college about two years before the first computer boom hit, but I was already an experienced (if self-trained) programmer. Instead of spacing the programming courses out over four years I took them all in two semesters. That left me with a lot of elective hours to fill.

    I had been an avid reader since kindergarten, with major interests in science fiction and fantasy. That lead me to take courses in history and medieval literature. Those lead me to anthropology, which was a world-changing experience for me.

    The professors I studied under, outside of my major, were generally pleased, if a little puzzled, to have a technical geek in their classes. To everyone’s surprise, I turned out to be a very good student in those areas. After the first few classes I was encouraged to take graduate level seminars, which I really enjoyed. I was still treated as a bit of an oddity, but I got a lot of support.

    By the time I graduated with a B.A. in Computer Science, I had also earned minors in Anthropology, English, and Medieval Studies. If I could have stayed for another semester I would have had Anthropology as major and added History as a minor.

    That was one of the best times of my life. And it certainly expanded my perception of the world. In retrospect, my Computer Science classes were probably the least important thing I did in college. Studying multiple disciplines forced me to understand different ways of thinking and different sets of values. That has served me very well in the years since, both professionally and personally. I am also happier because of it.

    I wish everyone had the opportunities I did. I think we short-change students by feeding them bulk information and telling them that is what an education should be. The most important thing anyone can get from an education is the ability to continue to learn.

  • Too many universities have transformed what used to be broad liberal arts programs with technical majors into narrow vocational programs. The focus now is on training to get a job and make lots of money. Interest in anything outside of that is discouraged in all kinds of ways.

    I think some of this is the result of conservative attempts to eliminate critical thinking skills from the educational system. More of it is a side-effect of the more limited opportunities offered by our late-stage capitalist economy.

    I have a computer science degree, but I studied anthropolgy, literature, and history as well. It pains me to see all of that devalued and ignored.