I wasn’t a ten-year old tinkering with computers. My first experience with a PC was at a family friend’s house. Every other month we visited, I’d be inching to go to their study and watch him play WASD soccer.
I wasn’t completely oblivious to computers though. I had friends that owned Gameboys and PSPs, and someone actually gifted me a carcass of the former when I was twelve. About three years later, my mum got a desktop computer. She also yielded to pressure from a coworker (Thanks Mr Ibrahim) and bought us a Playstation 2 later that year.
My real break was in 2008, when I needed a laptop to do my A-Levels. I got my first laptop at 16 (not so bad), and never stopped tinkering. I had to learn new things, and fast, to keep up with the people at A-Level school (EAC). I figured out WiFi, got into music curation, football manager and anime. Eventually when I had to quit A-Levels to start out as a fresher at OAU, I had new perspective, and another world to bury myself in.
Everything I do now, I stumbled into. I played with programming in my first year of uni, but didn’t really like it. So, I tried designing (graphics) and it was fun. One thing led to a recommendation for a job, and I never stopped getting recommended. Really. All my career.
I’ve literally survived on one recommendation after the other. I see something new, I learn it, I do some personal work and experiments and then someone snags me up to work for them.
How do you work towards becoming something if you have no idea that possibility exists?
Here’s the thing — I wish I caught on earlier. I don’t know what would have been, and I know this is my path, but I wish I was exposed to things a lot earlier — cable, WiFi, the internet, programming, cinemas, anime, etc. I believe there’s a huge part of creativity that’s formed by just being exposed to certain things. How do you work towards becoming something if you have no idea that possibility exists?
My extended family is currently still very middle class, and I grew up better of than many of my cousins, even though not by much. If I had a slim chance to be exposed to the internet at a young age, my cousins have a slimmer chance. So I’ve decided to take up a mantle: Help my younger cousins see the world. Every quarter, I’m going to save up some money to buy a cousin something gadgety — a laptop, a game console, or a phone, etc.
I’ve already done this a couple of times, but I’m going to make it regular now. I also hope to be able to afford to fund travel for them eventually, but in the meanwhile, I’ll take them to cinemas and shows as often as I can — this one will be hard, gotta admit.
In choosing what to buy, I want to be a little tactful. I’ll consult their parents to find out their proclivities and performance in school. Finally, I’ll include this note in every package.
Sometimes all we need is a little chance, regardless of where it’s from. The world is a lot larger than you know, and there’s so much more to discover. This gift is one small step in discovery.
I can’t control what you use it for, but make sure you learn. Read the news, follow smart people on Twitter and Facebook, find out if you like art or programming, watch videos and laugh. Play music, puzzle games and sharpen your mind, chat with friends to build social skills, or try writing to see how good at it you are.
Point is, never stop learning.