Staying motivated is challenging. Starting the post-baccalaureate program I struggled to find a reason to work so hard after my 40 hour a week job. I enrolled in the Oregon State post-baccalaureate computer science program because I wanted to learn a new skill that I struggled to learn in my free time. I figured putting some skin in the game (considerably large amount of skin per unit) would motivate me do my best in each class. But I struggled in the beginning. Everything was so new. Every unit felt like an insurmountable mountain of IDEs, command line knowledge, and programming logic. I found it so hard in fact that I dropped out twice. First I dropped the intro to programming class. After giving it another try and completing the first class, I dropped out again while taking discrete math. I was angry at myself for wasting money and my own time.

Six months later and and in my last chance to re-enroll, I took a trip with my girlfriend through Portland and Seattle. We loved the cities and thought about what it would be like to move there. But we also considered what skills we had to find jobs. While I was (and still am) working a job as a Chemist, my skill set was very specialized. I wasn’t confident I could move to any city and find a job. On the two day drive home, I made the decision to start the program again and stick with it. I knew having tech and programming skills would allow me to find a job anywhere I move. Finally I had the drive and reason to continue the program. I wanted to be able to live the life I imaged in those cities with my girlfriend.

Three years later and hundreds of hours of classes later, here I am about to graduate. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect. My girlfriend is applying to law school and a move to a new city is imminent. Instead of feeling dread about my prospects, I feel free and open to moving anywhere knowing that I’ve put myself in the position to succeed. I couldn’t be happier to be done, as burn out is a real thing. But I found the motivation I needed and I’m so happy I did.

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