Under the Hill

so tired…

How I Failed to Learn Something Useful

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One fateful decision I made for my life (which I didn’t even know WAS such a fateful decision at the time I made it) occured in the end of 5th grade. At that time we were told to choose some electives. If we wanted.

Well, it wasn’t as if it was mandatory to take them, but we were told they always would be helpful later on. I looked over the sheet they gave us and somehow doubted that.

It was mostly extra sports classes. And mostly sport at insane times. And still with the same teachers as the regular classes. I was living a bit farther away, so a class at 7pm was not really feasible for me.  The last bus home left at 4.40.

But two classes struck my chord: IT and Touch Typing.

It was an either/or situation as they managed to put those two in the same timeslot. And aspiring IT-technician that I was back then I signed up for IT.

Which basically ended in me having neither the ability to touch type, nor the ability to actually do anything involving programming.

Because, you know, even though that was the mid 90s and everybody was so damn proud of this awesome computer lab we had (10year old 286s and a network which allowed us to look into the (at that time never before used) grading database), the teachers didn’t actually have a clue ABOUT computers. And basically what we learned in these classes was the very basic use of BASIC (pun intended) and how to start up Excel. Not even the use of QBasic, but the use of BASIC. The teacher never got his head around the idea that one didn’t actually need to write down the line numbers in QBasic. And even after we started to start up windows more often after half a yearor so, we didn’t do more than put some functions into Excel  and be happy if the program calculated right.

Which was more than other people would know how to do for years. (I recently found one of those persons rumors tell about, who actually use calculators to calculate the numbers in Excel spreadsheets). Still… it left us wondering if all this actually was worth the torture this teacher put us through.

And when the next time came up to chose those electives I was happy to know there would be a theatre course offered. That’s the way to get people to study the liberal arts…

Still, even though I was happy with that decision at the time I encountered some serious problems afterwards. For one, I didn’t have any ability in touch typing until years later. And even then this was still optimised search and peck instead of real ten finger touch typing. And of course I never learned how to program anything but a simple print statement. Because for years afterwards my mind was set on the idea that somehow programming wasn’t for me.

Lately though this status quo has taken a bit of a spin, first by deciding to actually learn to type in an easier way (this text is one of the first blog entries written with ten fingers). And then by deciding to take up coding in a few idioms. And be it only to write a few scripts that could be useful later on. And that’s what I have been doing for the last week (while not researching for classes, that is…). And I still wonder what the hell I am doing.

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Written by G. Neuner

19. January 2009 at 12:47 am

Posted in Writing

Tagged with , , ,

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