Getting Trapped in IT and How I Escaped

I’m a recent graduate from Appalachian State University who even more recently escaped the clutches of the IT world. I spent the past 4 years slaving away for a degree I admittedly didn’t want at first. I preferred studying linguistics and skate/snowboarding the afternoons away. I explored new options I never imagined in a small suburban highschool (I’m from the burbs of Nashville originally). I helped start our schools esports team while competing all across the east coast on the schools snowboarding team. I wanted nothing more than to spend my life on a ski resort and switch my major to Recreation Management. However, after talks with my family it became apparent that switching majors was not an option and so I made the best of it. I made lots of talented friends who pushed me to excel in my classes and strive to learn outside of my coursework. I eventually found myself taking a graduate level machine learning course over summer while working with one of my friends developing a react native mobile application for my dad’s company. After summer, I started working for the school where I lead a team creating a curriculum to teach high schoolers how to code in python by recreating pacman using the Kivy framework. At the same time I was working with my best friend on our capstone project where we implemented a 2d physics engine utilizing the MVC pattern allowing others to easily attach it to their own applications. I got so used to working with lots of different languages, technologies and fields of study that I couldn’t imagine picking just one to do for the rest of my life.

So when I graduated and had two months to not only decide what state to move to and what kind of job I wanted, I got lost and simply cast a net of applications all over the eastern states (the ones I liked) but nothing really stuck. Turns out people prefer you to live in the state before applying to work there. So when July hit I didn’t have any time to be picky. My girlfriend and I decided to move to Atlanta so she could be with her sister and best friend and I could just add another state to my list of residencies (I filed taxes in four states this year…). I took the first job that would have me and found myself working as a Software Support Engineer in a Walmart distribution center (but not working for Walmart). Needless to say the office environment and job were not what I pictured coming out of college and this began to take a toll on me. My friends all had development positions and told me how great their places of work were meanwhile my office was a backpack and anywhere I could find a power outlet. I began looking for work and couldn’t believe it when I found a startup right down the street from my house that looked like a great place to work. Without any hesitation I emailed them and waited eagerly for a reply imagining what it would be like to not have to drive to work every morning to a different city. I got the job said goodbye to my coworkers and never looked back. Now a few weeks later I’m loving every day of my job and actually enjoying my daily commute (a pleasant ride through my neighborhood). I finally feel like I have the life I imagined on those stressful and sleepless nights before exams (minus the mountains and snow of course).

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