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Programs in free time, goes to school, what next?

  1. May 30, 2009 #1
    Hey guys!

    I live in Doha, Qatar. I'm from India, my dad and mom work here. I go to an Indian school here, following the CBSE board. I'm in 11th class (or grade, or whatever you want to call it) now. I generally get good grades in school, and my teachers are happy with that.

    In my free time, I play the indian tabla, and most importantly, I write computer programs. I've been doing this since I was 10, and I'm extremely interested in it. I mostly work on things related to video games, and as of now I'm working on a sequel to a previous game of mine, called 'GraLL'. You can check out more of what I've done until now on the projects page of my website, which also has a blog (the 'Log' link to the right):-
    http://nikki93.github.com/projects.html" [Broken]

    My GitHub page, with my latest code projects, is here:-
    http://github.com/nikki93" [Broken]

    I've just written my CBSE board exams, and received the results. I got a total of 90.2%, which is fine, but I'm not happy with it (actually, I really don't care about it much, but friends and parents expected me to top my school, which I didn't). I'm worried that my results are being brought down because I concentrate too much on computer programming and reading more about 'higher level' math and physics which I find an interest in. If I just stick to school, I can get much better grades. I keep thinking of dropping the whole 'do what you want to do, be creative' idea and just sticking with school, but I just can't ever imagine leaving work on GraLL 2 (or whatever I'm working on at the moment) and just doing school work. It seems pointless, and cheap, as the main reason I seem to have to do it is to 'get a job', whereas programming is something I do 'because I find it fun and it's what I "feel" I should do in life'.

    I want to ask you guys, have you faced a similar problem? What should I do? Do school grades matter? Is pursuing your interest a good thing?

    Also, my mom and dad (and almost the whole of the rest of my family) want me to get into a 'good' university, for whatever reason. I myself want to do so, because I hope to meet people with similar interests as mine and develop a team. 'MIT', 'Carnegie Mellon', and 'Stanford' are names that pop up frequently in the discussion. Does working on your own projects help in getting into those?

    And my post might be a bit harsh, I /just/ had a little tiff with my parents and am a bit frustrated. :-) Also, if it's immature, do excuse me, I'm young and inexperienced.

    ps. Are avatars not allowed on this forum?

    ps 2. By 'programming' I don't mean just computer programming actually, but everything related to algorithms and problem solving methodology, especially that in computer games which involves a lot of physics, geometry etc.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2009 #2


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    Well, school is important - depending of course on what you want to do.

    I think a lot of people struggle with this dilemma - concentrating on school work vs. exploring one's own (constructive) interests. Certainly there is merit in either avenue. Bill Gates for example, would not be where he is today if he hadn't devoted hours of time to programming as an extra-cirricular activity. On the other hand, top marks will lead to better educational opportunities and scholarships, which will place you in a better position in the long run.

    Personally I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to avoid exploring your interests in programing. This is the kind of hobby that will give you skills that you won't necessarily learn in school. The trick, I think, is in finding the right balance. Figure out how much time you have to devote to your school work to be in the place you really want to be in, and then fill in what's left with time for your hobbies.
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