At the age of five my oldest brother, Gage, introduced me to the computer game, Sims. From there on out, I was constantly playing video game with either my brothers, friends, or just myself. Through video games a deep love for computers and technology in general grew inside of me. Video games showed me a whole other world that was easily accessible. My parents actually credit video games to me learning how to read more complicated things than simple picture books. This largely came from the fact that my brothers would refuse to constantly read aloud the text on the screen of the games they were playing, this lead to me having to either slowly figure out what was being said or completely lose track of what was happening in the story. From this point on in my life technology to me was the use of any advanced tool for the personal gain of knowledge or entertainment.
Sims may have been my introduction to technology, but Halo 1 made my fall in love with it. My friends and I had countless 4 vs. 4 Halo LAN party sleepovers growing up. There was nothing we enjoyed more at the time than playing Halo, which alone shows how much an impact technology had on me growing up. Sure we rode bikes and played outside, but when it came down to it Halo was always our first choice. We would usually only do other activities when our parents got sick of us sitting around all day.
In seventh grade I received my first personal computer for Christmas. This was amazing for me because before this I could only use my brothers' PCs when they weren't using them. I spent countless hours on World of Warcraft late at night playing on this computer. However, I learned pretty quickly how important virus protection is; after about a year and a half of owning my PC it became extremely bogged down with malware. It got to the point where I couldn't even play WoW because the viruses were eating up so much RAM.
In my junior year of high school I decided to enroll in a Java computer programming class. I initially enrolled because I did well in a digital tools class and my teacher in that class said I should try out computer programming. Little did I know programming is way more complicated than Excel and Word, and I wasn't very talented at first, actually, I was just plain bad at it. However, the idea of nearly limitless options for creation via code sparked my interest in doing something more with computers besides gaming. At the end of the semester a couple friends and I decided to sign up for the Amazon coding competition. We got absolutely crushed, but the experience was awesome. Hearing these Amazon employees talk about making everything from apps to drones solidified my desire to pursue computer programming outside of high school.
In 2012, I made the decision to enroll at WSU as a computer science major. This decision evolved technology’s role in my life from a hobby to my passion. Even though I did a small amount of programming in high school, I never fully grasped the concepts of programming because it was so foreign to me at the time. However, in college everything clicked and coding felt almost natural. From the moment I enrolled on, a large portion of my time has been spent either coding or reading about new technologies being invented or worked on. Being immersed in the world of programming and technology has only made me love it more as I learn more about them.
My third year into computer science at WSU I decided to compete in the WSU Hack-a-thon with two of my friends. We went about trying to create a multiplayer game in 24 hours. We didn't accomplish everything we set out to, however, we did end up with a playable game that was surprisingly fun. This was my first experience trying to create something on my own outside of school. It was extremely challenging in the fact that all parameters and bounds of the project were created by us rather than a teacher. This project was also a great way to intersect the two pieces of technology I've always loved the most: computer programming and video games.