My experience at SMCC has been quite a process. Writing this FEELS like a process. And it might throw me over the edge and or get me in trouble if I decide to add the detail of what I could or couldn't write about. I grew up in a military family, mother and father. My dad, being a scientist and pilot in the military, loved technology. He brought us all home a COMPAQ computer in 1999, I was naturally curious about almost anything I stumbled across, I loved it right off the bat.
Windows 98 was my very first operating system. I remember when 1GB was a big deal. It was to me. I also remember stumbling into the blue screen of death and taking the phone and talking to a Microsoft technician with my dad breathing down my neck with every step I took. That felt like a huge win for me at age 6. My very first big video game that my parents let me play was Roller Coaster Tycoon. I vigorously played Sonic the Hedgehog. I gathered my friends to play it with me in the neighborhood to try it out.
My best friend surprised me with a N64 on my birthday many, many years ago. I began my addiction of Zelda very swiftly. I made my allowances through dishes and lawn mowing. I ended up landing a job in a greenhouse. But that's jumping way ahead. My allowances were either spent on video games, or devices for the computer – I did not make enough in allowances to get either a new CPU or a graphics card. I have no idea what the specifications for that computer was, and to this day I wish I wrote them down.
A thing I became quite good at was getting/peer pressuring my mother and father to get the military to give them more technology. This resulted in Mom getting a palm pilot – which I think could've been the first smartphone if the company had played their cards right. They didn't. Anyways, I couldn't keep my hands off of it. I helped mom with her notes for the military with it.
Now, around the beginning of 2004 is when I completely lost my marbles. My parents had gotten me a video game that really made me see things quite differently. And they also got Comcast. This was an online video game, in specifics, FFXI. Being a Japanese game, most of the players were from around Europe and of Asia. I made my own alias to disguise and distinguish myself as someone older. It kinda worked.
I met other computer geeks – people that worked for the Square Soft, Microsoft, gaming companies as software engineers, scientist, or business agents.Teamwork was essential. You made friends immediately in this game with everyone helping each other. But, this isn't to say there wasn't any competition. This is also when I learned about LANs and how crappy my connection could get.
In 2005, I created a free forum through phalkyn proboards. User permissions were pretty cool to use. I made a database of the money we made as a group and distributed money and maintained attendance of certain members to certain events in a spreadsheet. I was in charge of an event that happened twice a week. A coder in our group wrote his own application that would calculate how much damage could be done over time using certain skills, weapons, and armor. I also took applications on the forum site from players that wished to join our group. It felt as if I had a job.
I did learn some C++, database knowledge, Linux Operating Systems, different languages (speaking and programming), sciences, networking, and hacking from the people I met over time. I was learning this all outside of school. I liked it that much more, so I began to resent school. I wanted to meet some of the people I trusted in person from around the world, so I kept my eyes on free military flights to other countries with my father. To this day, I keep in touch with many of them. I made over 700 contacts. I closed the door to FFXI in 2009.
In High school, I remember wanting to get as far away from computers as I could. I focused on my social life, sports, and health. I failed the first year. I tried jumping up back from that in my junior and senior year, graduating with a 2.99, the school not rounding to a 3.0 left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn't rediscover my love for technology until I was about to graduate from high school. I was originally going to not go to college at all and just do under the table landscaping/ computer/technical jobs, but something just told me to go further then that. I spent the first year after high school trying different majors and jobs, and computers just seemed like the most logical choice for me.
I decided to go to SMCC because it's a very affordable college. The convenience of the location has helped me as well, having Brunswick and Bath campuses. Living in Topsham, this has been a great asset to me. The only real problem I have had with SMCC is the parking. They made a huge improvement on the tech building. I also love the scenic view of the ocean right outside the building of where I usually roam.
I am unsure of how I feel about Microcomputer Hardware missing from the curriculum. I am also a bit disappointed that the internship was replaced with Introduction to Networking, when I have taken Network Systems Management & Network Hardware. I believe that virtualization is very important to know. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take this. I feel as though the focus of the new curriculum is around certifications. I hope that the new students get the same understanding of technology I earned.
I have a considerable amount of thanks to my professors and staff of SMCC for working with me and my education. In particular, I would like to thank the president's fund for helping me afford a new laptop, and the summer scholarships that helped me pay for my summer classes were a great help to me. This experience has amplified my love of technology and expanded my connections professionally. My thanks to professors Chris Dumais, Howard Burpee, Paul Richardson, Kenneth Hoeflick, Rebecca Test, Leroy McDonough, and Dave Jacquet. Staff Katharine Lualdi, Chanel Lewis, Sharon Bannon, and Margaret Fahey.
This December, I will be graduating from SMCC. I've made it alive and well to age 21. It has been interesting and challenging to juggle full time jobs to meet bills, and trying to lean my priorities to school. I'm hoping that after I graduate I manage to find a job or internship within my field, and attend USM in the spring to get my bachelors degree. My plan is to study abroad and use the connections I've made in the past to get a job that will hopefully aid me to reach my "dreams".