Right on Schedule

Summer 2012

I had spent a fair amount of time looking for an internship during Spring quarter of that year.  I went to the job fair and sent out my resume to as many places as I could.  My resume was still fairly empty, but I still made it look presentable somehow.  After lots of waiting and rejection emails, I got a couple of phone calls.  My inexperience really showed in the phone interviews, as I didn’t really know what I was talking about (yet).  I didn’t know standard interview protocol and being a self proclaimed Java master wasn’t enough (being a Java master in the programming world is like being an Algebra master, it doesn’t mean too much).

So school ended, and I had no internship after trying so hard.  I had put a fair amount of eggs into this basket too; I had canceled some Summer plans because I was certain that I would get one.  But I was unwilling to concede to a Summer of nothing, so in a moment of self-loathing converted into passion, I wrote up a schedule for myself to follow.  Here it is:

0700 – Wake Up / Brush Teeth
0705 – Morning Jog
0800 – Shower
0830 – Devotions and Morning Meditation
0900 – Breakfast
0930 – Clean Up
0945 – Music Time
1200 – Rest Time
1300 – Lunch
1330 – Clean Up
1345 – Programming Time
1700 – Bible Break
1830 – Dinner

Pretty cool, huh?  I based it off a typical camp or retreat schedule.  And yes, you read that right; 2 hours of playing an instrument and 3 hours programming a day.  Notice that this ran from 7am to dinner time, I tried to treat it as if I had an internship and had a regular “work” week.  The goal was to just focus on being more awesome and getting better.  I wanted to expand and broaden the programming languages I knew, so I did many online tutorials and test projects.  During this time, I learned HTML, CSS, Javascript, C#, Perl and Python (among other languages).  I also wanted to find my “sound” again, so I alternated between playing piano, violin and guitar.  I focused more on being technically proficient by digging up old classical music books to play though.

After programming time, I would take a break and listen to a sermon on YouTube.  I listened to so many that I started considering going into seminary (Bible overload!).  Evenings were usually spent doing more exercise in the form of weights.  I kept this up for about 2 months.  My friends were pretty annoyed with me because I wouldn’t hang out with them during the day.  I had to draw a line somewhere.  Except for biking with them at night sometimes or hanging out on the weekends, I didn’t spend much of Summer with them during that time period.

On the surface, it would appear that this was a waste of a Summer, but I can actually attribute the job interviews and job offers I got from this decision.  A lot of these languages I was not taught nor would I be normally be taught in school.    Plus, it was something to talk about during an interview.  It showed self-motivation and a thirst for learning.  It certainly paid off.

Internship vs. Self-motivated Learning looks like this:

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