Growing Up

Currently, it is 3:09 AM. I have about three point five hours before my alarm sets off, and yet, I can’t sleep. I usually don’t write about anything concerning politics, life, or anything of solid stature on this site, but today I feel that it is extremely important that I write this. It is no secret that I am a high school student, I’ve proudly stated this on my homepage. Recently, I feel like I’ve been decked by life. Coming to grips with the fact that I’m growing up has been extremely tough. I am in the Boy Scouts of America, and I am soon to becoming an Eagle Scout, the final rank in the Boy Scouts.

Over the past 48 hours, I’ve seen four friends ‘graduate’ to this rank ceremoniously. These friends, half of whom I’ve known for more than half a decade, have been essential to my development. Just watching them, listening to their life plans, worries, and dreams, shell-shocked me. Three years before this, our worries were ‘would there be enough root beer for this campout’ not ‘I hope I can get accepted to this college’. We are all tackling real life problems, and part of me is sad to see these fine young men move on with their lives. Relationships that we’ve built will not stand the test of time. Separate cities, stressful assignments, and eventually abundant families will, unfortunately, slowly erode at our friendships. It is simply life. Three years may not seem like a long time to the average person, but it is a huge transition. From age 14, a boy who loves LEGOs and riding his bike through the woods, to age 17, a young man who is striving for the next thing in life, and all the challenges that come with it. A jump from hiding grass stains on your church shirt to worrying about ACT scores and paychecks. I’m not here to complain, it has been an awesome experience, and I’m glad I’ve been exposed to the challenges, but let me take a moment to discuss the next steps.

College. In this day and age, college is not for everyone. Price is a huge factor in this decision. Our whole lives, we have been taught to go to college, get a degree, and of course, a well-paying job will fall into our lap. Nowadays, we go to college, get a bunch of debt, and get stuck finding a job. I personally believe college will be a great experience, which is why I’m choosing to go to my state’s school, unless I get a good scholarship elsewhere, which brings a segue to my next point.

Diversity. Me, a straight, white, male, is the exact opposite when schools and businesses think of Diversity, which makes me concerned. Not that I’m saying I deserve anything in this world, none of us do, but it feels like we’re (straight, white, males) are being punished for doing something we had no choice over. I didn’t choose my race or my gender. I’m totally fine with who I am, however, I do not check any major boxes, at least from the perspective of colleges and businesses. I am very fortunate to have the job I have now. They hire solely on experience. They do not look first for diversity, but a fit inside the company. They have done an excellent job hiring, all of my coworkers are excellent people. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am also very grateful for my father, who has helped distinguish me inside my state’s school. They want me to come, which excites me. For the past 17 years of my life, I’ve been comparing myself to others, and I always come up short. For a while, I thought I was a lack luster programmer, until I pieced together the facts. I am a self-made programmer. I’ve never had any classes, nor any formal instruction. All of my knowledge comes from Google. I consider myself proficient. I have three apps on the iOS App Store. The area I live isn’t tech-phobic, but it certainly isn’t a breeding grounds for innovation. For a while, I wanted to go to some fancy CompSci school, but my father asked me: “Do you want to be the light among millions, or the light that shines though the darkness”. With that in mind, I can’t help but feel like I’m on the forefront of a revolution here. There are sometimes I get sad when I see people I follow on Twitter touring, well, Twitter, Google, and getting accepted into awesome tech schools, nothing I could feasibly do. Sure, you could argue that they have some awesome experience, but looking at the location of these people, it is easy to see that they grew up with that being all around them. None of this is to put them down, or make me uppity. I’m not being boastful. Just looking at facts, and maybe getting excited for a renaissance period in my city. Let me finish with this. I’m not going to pretend I have it hard, I’m not going to whine and moan, but let me say this. Growing up is hard, no matter what gender, age, race, or city that person lives in.

It is all sucky and beautiful in its own, twisted way.

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