When I graduated from secondary school, back in 2004, I graduated with honours. I had the best result in my IGCSE examinations, and a couple of awards from my school to show for it. I was a brilliant student, and, truth be told, I still am a brilliant student. But if you were to look at my university transcript, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought otherwise.
Thanks to my wonderful, and mostly effortless good grades in secondary school, when I entered university (on a scholarship), I decided that I wanted to put my focus elsewhere. I wanted to enjoy the experience of being a university student, and get involved in everything that caught my interest. This is what led to my joining the African Students Association in University, and also my studying the Chinese language.
However, I was soon to find out that University was not like secondary school, and my chosen field of pursuit was not like I had perhaps imagined. When I chose to study Computer Science, my dream was to build Nigerian-oriented video games. I did not know anything about the programming they involved. So, even to first of all have to learn a programming language, came as a shock. And learning that first programming language, was like pulling teeth. I just couldn't wrap my head around it.
Then there were Advanced Programming Techniques, Computation Labs, Systems Architecture, and Artificial Intelligence classes, that would have been difficult even if I already knew a thing or two about programming. As a proud student, I took my first F like a champ... and vowed to show these professors that they did not know who they were messing with. Little did I know that that first 'F' would be one of many in my Academic career - and I was the one who was to learn just what I was messing with.
As it turned out, Computer Science was (and still is) among one of the most difficult concentrations you can take in University... and my specialization in Artificial Intelligence made it that much harder. So I had to fail a bit to get my head on straight. And even after, it took a lot of work to get a passing grade in some courses.
I guess the whole point of my sharing this, was to convey three (3) lessons:
- Before you choose a course of study for University, get as much experience as you can in the subject matter.
- A failing grade should always be avoided, but if you do get one, it is not a death sentence.
- Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence are difficult. I know they're all the rage right now, but be prepared for what you’re getting yourself into.