Sean Pedersen

Sean Pedersen

Why I won't graduate

Every single time I mention in a conversation that I am actually not interested in finishing my CS degree, every person is kind of flabbergasted and tries to convince me to finish it for my own good. This is to y'all. I fully understand that you trying to convince me to invest into a degree awarded by a university which promises a safe future, is only with good intentions. But I respectfully decline your advice and take the opposite stance that it is my duty to not devote my time for years to staged academic exercises but instead work on real problems. From my privileged position as a citizen of the EU I am safe, even without a degree. So I may take this "risky" move and skip the graduation.

And to be totally frank: I could not give less of a shit for a piece of paper that acts as a signal to other people that I am a smart / hard working / qualified individual that is good to hire / work with.

I am not interested in working with you if you actually judge me by being in possession of such a "special" piece of paper (that you can obtain in many dubious ways). So in my opinion it is even advantageous to me if people do not want to work with me because I have no degree, since it prevents superficial people from entering my life.

I judge people by their and myself want to be judged by my personality: which is something mysterious related to the mindsetting, morals, how you treat others and expect yourself to be treated, your past accomplishments and failures and what you learned from them. The only thing that matters from academic education is what you learned along the way and the people you meet. The rest is superficial crap that I don't need. I am not saying my way is the way for everyone but I choose it consciously and own it.

About the CS degree itself: The knowledge / curriculum is full of gems: Trees, Graphs, Algorithmic Complexity and Artificial Intelligence to name a few that stood out to me. I have studied the theory of them in depth. It is just that the way how the knowledge is often transferred and especially how it is examined and marked is sadly too often not goal orientated. I am happy that I spent a lot of time on my CS education in university, I just see no point in "finishing" it (getting the "special" graduation paper). I encourage anyone reading this to develop their own style of learning and advise strongly against overfitting academic exams. Your time is better spent studying deep theory, get confused, ask hard questions, find easy but often surprising answers and most importantly: apply the theory - build it.