“I feel like I don’t get excited about computer science stuff anymore.”
A friend of mine mentioned that in a group chat during winter break. My knee-jerk reaction, “Go read cool articles!” was rather hypocritical. I don’t read as many tech articles as I should. However, I still felt the burning need to defend computer science. Computer science was not just “exciting!” but “EXCITING!!!” - 24/7, 365 days of the year.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I wasn’t defending computer science from my friend’s words, but from myself. Honestly, I felt kind of burnt out. I was the one that didn’t get excited anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still loved CS. But you can love something and still not get excited by it.
I wanted my excitement back. Without it, life was reduced to jumping through hoops. I did take my own advice and read tech articles, but the torpor continued. The beginning of the semester came and went. My new classes didn’t inject me with enough enthusiasm. I found myself dipping in and out of a listless mood, which is dangerous because then I start asking myself dramatic questions about the meaning of life.
The second week of school, I went to demo the HTC Vive on the advice of a friend. If you haven’t heard yet, the HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset being developed by HTC and Valve Corporation- think Oculus Rift. News about virtual reality headsets seemed to be multiplying like rabbits and I finally wanted to try one. I made the trek to the AT&T Conference Center, signed up for my 20-minute slot, and returned the next day positively stewing in anticipation.
The minute I slipped the headset over my eyes, I knew I was in store for a life-changing experience. The real world receded and was replaced by a virtual fantasy straight from the minds of others into mine. The guy who was running the demo handed me two controllers and a dopey grin slid onto my face as I began to shuffle around the pixel landscape.
The first demo was called TheBlu: Encounter. I found myself on the deck of a shipwreck deep in the ocean. Schools of fish darted around in the murky light. I walked around in awe (you can physically walk wearing the Vive) as fish swam away from me. When the whale appeared, somehow graceful despite its behemoth bulk, I was moved half to tears. It was only a few inches away from me and I stared into its real and unreal eyes. It was so easy to forget that this wasn’t real, but I was painfully aware that I would never be adventuring at the bottom of the ocean in real life.
The rest of the demos left me breathless, laughing, speechless, wide-eyed. I walked out of the building inordinately happy. A voice inside of me was saying: This could be it; you might have just found what you want to do with your life. As a story enthusiast my mind was reeling with all the possibilities. Imagine books being brought to life! Imagine all the worlds that could be built!
Going to the demo not only revived my enthusiasm, but now I’m more excited about technology than I have ever been. I’m more gung-ho about being a CS major than ever before! It worked better than any article or any stimulating conversation. Not everyone is going to be awestruck by virtual reality like I was; not everyone is going to care as much. However, everyone must have something out there that can cure the doldrums. Left to itself, excitement will ebb and flow. It’s natural. I’m glad I found my cure.
Happy Thursday :)