Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Thinking About my Life and MS - Era 3 - 1975 to 1985

The third era of Will - Making up for lost time

Getting away from home to go to college was a huge release.  The first change that I made was to ditch the whole getting up on Sunday to go to Mass thing.   The last day that I went to a Sunday service, other than once or twice with my Mom, was the last day that I went with her before heading to school.  It pains my Mom greatly but I have never really put much stake in there being a God in the organized religion sense.  What kind of god, regardless of religion, would condone the number of people killed in their name over the past centuries, not to mention all the other evils that exists in our world?  Yeah, I know, that whole free choice thing.    Anyway, I digress.

My first year at college was all about partying.  Not so much that I was ever in danger of flunking out but I did cut loose.  A lot of booze and for the first time ever some pot.   And then more pot.  And some more booze.    The whole rushing thing never interested me other than as one more opportunity to get some booze.   Funny thinking back on it now as the drinking age was 18.  I am sure that some things will have changed but my bet is that kids can still find booze.  Not to mention drugs if they so desire.  Anyway, I digress.

The second year at school I got a life changing job as a student intern working in the Computer Services department at school.  Did not know that it was going to be life changing but it would be.  I had taken a couple of programming classes my frosh year and loved them.  Got a job working with Cobol paying 2.08 per hour!  This was not much but it did help pay for the pot and booze.  Now this may be an anomaly but there were a lot of people smoking dope at ODU.  I lived in a residence hall with 40 guys and all but one we knew smoked dope.  I do not know this for a fact but think that the stats were pretty similar on other floors and wings.   So, if your local politician went to ODU in the late 70's and claims not to have smoked dope...I would bet they are lying.  Just like the guy that didn't inhale.  Anyway, I digress.

So the life changing event was getting the intern job but the pivot point was when an opportunity came to apply for a full time position at the end of my sophomore year.  I jumped at the chance and was full time for that summer.   I did not go home.   In fact my trips home pretty much dried up as I had really had enough of my adoptive father to last a life time.  Maybe he is right and should get the credit for my success.  I suspect I would have followed the same course but having a compelling reason to want to be independent helped!

So through the rest of this era I thrived at work, partied hard at home, and sometimes at work.  I effectively burnt the candle at both ends and in the middle.   At one point I was working at the University full time, taking two classes, and doing some part time consulting work.   I was rolling in money and still found time to spend it.  Had a new car, a boat, and given that I lived on campus, a pretty darn good life style.

There are a couple bad memories from this era but the overwhelming majority of them are good ones. Even the part where a girl broke my heart into little pieces for the first time.  While to good memories dwarf the bad ones there was a bad one that provided a salient learning moment.  Hit and run and driving while intoxicated all in one night.  Night in jail.  Selling things to fund lawyers.  Lesson learned that changed my driving habits for the rest of my life.  Luckily I did not hurt anyone.

I left the University having finally graduated seven years after I started my studies and joined a small consulting firm.   We built the company from 19 employees to the hundreds.  I helped open an office in Northern Virginia and met a co-worker that was to become my first wife.

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