DEV Community


Posted on

New Guy Here

A loud BOOM just sounded over the barriers. It’s the third one in five minutes. Just another day here in Somalia.

I’m currently on a military deployment with the Oregon Army National Guard. I’ve been here for months and will be home soon. Ish. Depends.

A long, long time ago... in a place far, far away... I was a Marine. After four trips around the world, I’d discovered that I wanted to know more. I sought out psychology in college when I got out. But I’m also one that follows a calling, or a love interest, and four states later, I was in Oregon. After a decade of college, including a trip to Iraq with the National Guard, I completed a bachelors of science double major in psychology and philosophy. For over a decade I’ve done Weekly group work with veterans struggling after deployment but who found themselves n trouble for domestic violence. I’ve given over three hundred presentations to police departments around the state about crisis intervention techniques with veterans with combat stress related injuries. And I’ve coordinated programs for the State on resilience and mental health for soldiers. I love my veterans and will easily drive eight hours on my own dime to give training to a group, and then drive back. A Mustang and a lot of podcasts, and I can drive for days.

People ask me if I’m going to become a therapist, or go into research. No. To do therapy is draining for me. I’m an introvert and “plugging in“ exhausts me. And for research, I’m not sure I have the chops for it mathematically. Also, I’ve seen the immense amount of work that goes into trying to secure funding. Research departments spend 80% competing for grants, 10% making the work fit the scope of the awarded grant, and 10% research.

Amidst all of this is the question, what do you do for fun? Well, I hike. That and play Magic The Gathering, and run, and guitar, and World of Warcraft (Night Elf Hunter!). But every Apple Keynote, I’m sitting on my couch, Apple TV on, an iPad, MBP, iPhone, all going, as I watch the keynote and ooh and ahh. I try to get the betas as soon as I can. I listen to productivity podcasts, read books, and have put out many videos of my own on YouTube (apologies for the cursing, have to connect with veterans in their language). I’m not a guru, but I’m always looking for how to make things better. Ten minutes ago, I gave a SSG that works for me a class on kInbox Zero’.

When I started college in, ‘ahem’, 1995, I taught myself HTML and started making webpages. I even gave free classes to other students as well. I like to teach and share. Over the years I’ve been the volunteer webmaster for many groups, from college groups (Psi Chi), to political groups (Lane County Green Party), and others. I never took any classes, always thinking that I was on a track in psychology to do, um, something. You see, a common question I’m psychology a person should ask is if they want to go research or clinical route. I didn’t have an answer. I see now that it isn’t because I loved both, but because I didn’t love both.

Looking back, after a long day in class, I’d often be found in the computer lab, working on a webpage HTML in NotePad. There was no flexbox or grid. It was tables and invisible images to get things to align. But I’d make sites for fun, including a multi-page fan site to Tomb Raider 1 video game. I was in the crowdfunding of the recent recording of that soundtrack by the London Philharmonic. I’ve got an autographed sheet of music framed on my wall, next to the Tardis Van Gogh.

If I had it all to do over again, instead of Psychology, I’d study Computer Science. Instead, I’m a latecomer to the field and am playing catch-up. I’ve paid for two online classes, one a Front End Web Dev class with SkillCrush, the other Real Python.

I’m trying to learn how to use Notion to take better notes o that I retain I formation better. For a webpage project, I’ve scrapped the CSS code three times and worked from scratch. I’m a believer in fundamentals, and getting three items to align alongside each other within a div has been the a dose of humility.

After learning the next skills in the course, GIT and JavaScript, I plan to jump into Swift. I’ve got some ideas for a couple apps. There’s an itch that needs scratching. Also, knowing what I know about psychology, I think I could make a difference with one of them.

I’m movie to southern Oregon, Ashland to be precise, where I hope to walk to the coffee shops and Shakespeare. It isn’t well known for tech, so I hope to find remote work. I’ve worked remotely for years, running programs for an entire state. Much of which can be done via my iPhone 11 from the dog park. People don’t think it’s possible, but out of seven states, my state performed well enough for me to receive a bonus.

I hope to be involved with design and creation. During a Positive Psychology class we were all instructed to write out our six word biographies. Exactly six words. These words are to express who we are. It took me a couple of days, but mine, after Iraq, was “I’m an arrow without a target”.

Now, it is “I am a priest of beauty”.

Top comments (1)

peter profile image
Peter Kim Frank

Thanks for sharing your story. Welcome to the community, glad you’re here!