tl;dr - hi, I like computers and games, and I'm trying to be a better man.
I'm here mostly to flex my social skills and meet people to play (PC) games and/or create software with, without too much commitment or rigidity.
Recently I've been going through what I call a "happy guy" phase, basically I'm trying to be less miserable and more friendly, without compromising myself. I've found that society, and especially the internet, is full of stuff that will rot your soul if you just let it all in, and how I'm dealing with that is by focusing intensely on my interests (programming and games) and shutting out the "societal noise". When I procrastinate I try to listen to music, watch movies, or read technical news instead of just reading junk articles about pop politics or whatever else is stinking up my news feed.
What brought on this change happened a few months ago when I was homeless. I'm still technically homeless but I'm in temp accommodation, but a few months ago I was sleeping rough and had nothing but my old work clothes. Anyway, I met a lot of people during that time and it flipped my view of the world upside-down (in a good way). Let me tell you about my homeless adventures for a moment (I coloured the paragraphs so you can skip that part if you're sick of reading huge monologues)...
I became homeless on a football day. The contrast between the people inside and the people outside was sharper than ever. Outside (in the city centre), it was mostly drunk people. A few people approached me (because they thought I was begging) - basically they were just pretending to give a ***, because they're drunk and feeling sentimental. A few of these people were clearly dangerous - one guy approached me with his wife, told me he was homeless in the past and "totally gets it", and tried to convince me he was ex-military (he wasn't), and 2 minutes later he was attacking some random guy outside a pub for "firing into his wife" (he wasn't). I was just waiting for some group of football hooligans or "jack the lad" types to attack me (scum like that love an easy target), and I was carrying a lethal weapon for every possible situation. Rapidly I was becoming more agitated and aggressive, not so much because of my situation but because of the environment around me, and I was about to start robbing people.
Eventually I met a bunch of "street pastors", who (believe it or not) aren't some new type of rapping preacher - they're based within a nearby church and they just walk around the city at night helping people who are injured, homeless, too drunk, etc.. They gave me food, warm clothes, and a place to sleep until they had to close, and then the police let me hang out in the station for the rest of the night. My initial suspicion was that these people would use my situation to pressure me into things I wouldn't normally do, so I put on a really good "desperate convert" act and got ready to milk it dry before finding another hypothetical titty, but I was wrong for once. They (and related groups) helped me every day with practical things, as well as giving me somewhere to chill out (including access to computers and some music equipment). These were the people inside (i.e. in buildings). This whole thing was significant to me because it's the first time I met anyone who didn't have a blatant agenda. Even my dad had an agenda (he's in prison), so before this I was basically a sociopath-in-training, believed that empathy is weakness and my idea of charity was simply "make yourself look good by throwing spare cash at people who pretend to help others".
So now that I'm pretty much back on my feet, I'm going to try not to tar everyone with the same brush, and stop assuming that everyone is pure evil. On top of that, like I said, I want to focus ~95% on my main interests and eventually start a career in the software industry. Going to college isn't an option because I already fucked that up due to weed, drink and cocaine, and I hated college anyway for other reasons. Thankfully software development is one of those things you can teach yourself entirely, and I can get industry experience and meet other developers by getting involved in open-source projects (i.e. Firefox, Linux, NASA, Alphagov, Godot, etc). I'm currently in the process of trying to force myself to stick to one project long enough to do something, make a useful patch, and actually submit it.
I have big plans which I keep to myself, mostly to avoid embarrassment when it doesn't work out, but I have a specific interest in artificial intelligence and want to apply it first in games (because games in general are in serious need of better AI), though I'm not ready for that yet so my first patch will probably just be to fix a spelling mistake.
I'm not a very social person but I can socialise via games, because they make it much easier to get along with people and start conversation, as well as providing much-needed stimulation, and it fulfills my requirement of "conversation must serve a greater purpose". I'll close this monologue with a list of some multiplayer games I can think of which I play:
RimWorld (yes multiplayer)
well done for getting up and teaching yourself those IT skills. I was homeless for 7 months in England. It taught me so much about the truly poor people living out in all weathers. I used to be scared I would be killed while asleep. I remember going to a sleep in Blackpool on my own. In the morning i been surrounded by dozen of likewise homeless young people overnight. It opened my eyes to the desperation out there.
dont be afraid to approach universities for a place on one of their degree courses. You sound like a really good research student. You would do well.
dont be afraid to make mistakes learn from them. laugh at yourself and then move on.
wish u all the best
I get the fear, I was watching some videos recently of people in Russia just randomly stabbing homeless people to death. Some of them were compilations. And people always assume you're an addict or just can't be bothered working (I was laid off from my bakery job due to an expired contract). Not to mention all the predators who will basically trap you into criminal "work", you need to be really careful when you're homeless.
On education, I did try to study a HND course because I could get funding for that, but they knocked me back because I didn't have the HNC (despite all my knowledge). HND is like the level before university here. I don't know what a "research student" is but I'll look into that, if I'm right that's like a sort of voluntary work/experience thing rather than enrolling on a course, which may suit me better anyway (I like to learn on the job).
Either way I'll be here studying and doing dry-runs (fixing bugs but not sharing) until I'm ready to start messing up a real project :) thanks for the welcome.
there are now programmer apprenticeships. look out for them. earn money while u learn. The "research student" comment means u are the sort who could create a new type of AI while doing an MSc or PhD. which is above degree level. U have such potential.
Oh I've just had a look at apprenticeships. That looks good, the only issue I'd have is actually writing an application but that's easily picked up. I think what I'll do is stick to the plan and work on a few projects, and then apply for an apprenticeship or junior position and use my previous projects as a talking point (to highlight my skills etc).
Own projects are good because they show initiative and motivation, team projects are good because they show ability to collaborate (especially with all the tech involved like Git), and game mods are good because it shows you can work within restrictions, so I'm going for a variety of projects.
OK, glad u looked at the new apprenticeships. I have a nephew doing one and hes doing so well. I will you get on with it :) best wishes and good luck.