Turning Point

Ron Paul Curriculum, English 1, Lesson 25

Writing assignment: 500 words on major turning points in your life. What changed? Why were they turning points? How did they take place?

The biggest single change in my life, the biggest turning point, was probably when I discovered that I liked to program. I was nine at the time. We had just moved from Virginia. For a while, I didn’t do much, other than school work. I hated that. My lack of interests quickly changed when my mom discovered Khan Academy’s new JavaScript section. Programming got me interested then, it interests me now, and I don’t want to stop having fun with it.

It happened in 2011. I woke up one day, and said good morning to my mom while she sat working at her computer. She happened to be on Khan Academy, so I assumed she was checking up on my math. It happened, however, that she was checking out a special web JavaScript programming interface, where you can make simple games that run in the browser (Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.). I had done some programming before, in the Visual Basic language, but didn’t have much enthusiasm for it. Now that my mom was starting to make things happen in such a short time… I was interested. Fortunately, when she went to go make breakfast, she left me at the computer to see what I could come up with. Pretty soon, I was hooked. Breakfast was quiet, or… I think it was quiet. I probably wouldn’t have heard anything over my own thoughts. I spent the whole rest of the day re-creating a pong game I had previously designed in Visual Basic.

I have been a very enthusiastic programmer ever since. I read the book Beginning Programming with Java For Dummies soon after, making the leap from JavaScript to real Java. I read Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius, another Java book, this time focusing more on the UI (User Interface) and threading. With it, I made some very simple games. Finally, this year I coded and released my own Android app. I am a published app developer on the Google Play Store. My Rock Paper Scissors game is available to download right now, and should work with the vast majority of Google phones and tablets out there.

I also have some interesting plans for the coming year. My goal is to build something with Unity, a 3D game engine that can run on Windows, Linux, and even Android and iPhone products. I will need to learn how to use C, C++, and C#. These languages are very closely related to Java, which I have the most experience in. It’ll be fun working on this new project.

Ever since that day in 2011, I have been making things happen with programming. I have used books to teach myself how to create more and more advanced applications, from web browser games, to simple PC tools and games, to mobile applications playable on a variety of different screen sizes. Programming is a very powerful tool, one that I find very fun to use and manipulate. I wouldn’t be doing these things had my mom not discovered Khan Academy’s learning tool, and made that turning point in my life.

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