Yes, today is a nice day that is alternatively known as my birthday! It's been an awesome eighteen years thinking different, and only more is going to come. Lots have changed (and not changed), so let's see:
Academic Focus: I thought I would enjoy math and physics (just like Dad) and would get a PhD and be a near exact replica, but I turned out not to be one of the theoretical people. Though I do find theory helpful in understanding applications, I find it pretty boring and useless by itself. This reflects my newborn interest in economics and applications of computer science and math. I probably will end up getting an MBA or something like that.
Computing and involvement with technology: One of the things I am really happy that I did early was get involved in technology. When I was in sixth grade, my parents said that they would buy me my own box to use (so I wouldn't have to take over their system), so I looked online at various manufacturer and review websites. I was enthralled by Apple's artwork, but was silly enough to fall for the Megahertz (gigahertz) myth, so I pretty much discounted its machines. So I ended up with a little noisy Dell tower, which I used for the first twoish years of middle school.
As I kept reading C|Net (mainly for reviews), I started following technology (and Apple). I remember the one time when I was reading initial reviews about the $49 Apple Mighty Mouse (debuted August 2005), and I predicted that Apple was going to release a Bluetooth one with Laser tracking for $20 more, the price delta between the wireless mouse and the former wired mouse. And holy crap, I was right! XD
My computing style had shifted quite a bit; I started out on Dad's Macintosh Classic when I was really little, then used several Windows boxes for quite a bit of time, got my first computer (a Dell Dimension 4600C which I am using as a webserver today), got a Mac mini for my 13th birthday, tried Ubuntu and Hackintoshed my Dell a year later, got a MacBook Pro (which I love and am still using it today) for my 14th birthday, and built my own box in sophomore year (with the intention of Hackintoshing, but that was never realized and it's now a Ubuntu box).
`Thinking' Different: I have always been `different' (i.e. odd one out in `normal' people's language) ever since...I dunno...elementary school? preschool? Known as the `brainiac' or the `math whiz', the other kids basically ignored me because, well, I didn't play sports and was interested in academics. During the award ceremonies in middle school, most of the crowd booed when I got up to claim my certificate of honor or excellence. In another situation, when I was talking with someone from my homeroom who plays sports, I told him about getting money or a free laptop at a math competition (Mathcounts Nationals, in particular) and his reaction was like, ``nawwww, get out of here! you're kidding!''
In BCA, I am pretty much the same, except there's a much wider range of people interested in academics. However, I still remain the odd one out in that I am the only female in my class to be interested in and dedicated to both math and compsci. XD
Being different has been fruitful for me. I followed through with compsci and math and have won many prestigious awards (USACO Gold and Math Prize 6th place) and am Captain of both teams. I am the first female from BCA to make Gold. Pursuing these usually `guys-only' subjects has allowed me to make some wonderful connections
Being different has just made me plain bizarre. I am one of few people who has cracked all my joints at least once (cracking my neck freaks my mom out XD). I know all of the first generation Pokemon (only the first 80 or so in order, though) and 97% of second generation. I skipped junior prom to go to a compsci competition (ACSL All-Stars). Now that was pretty epic. Oh, also, I do not approve of makeup/any of that girly garbage.
Expanding on that last note: I probably do it for the hell of it, but it is also for economic reasons: with limited resources, I cannot possibly feed my gadget impulsion and buying silly stuff at the same time. Therefore, I forgo most (if not all) makeup, jewelry, etc. and save my budget for buying computers, circuits, hardware, and the like. A $500 prom dress?! I'd take an NVidia GTX 480 over that any day (or an iPad; either one is nice)! Also, I can be different! Unlike pretty much everyone else, I wear khaki-like pants and a BCA/Math Team t-shirt most of the time, but now I pretty much wear black-and-gold apparel every day to remember Mr. Holbrook's passing.
Well, that's pretty much all I have to say. I suppose I'll end this with something more informal...
I'm a beaver,
You're a beaver,
We are beavers all.
And when we get together,
We do the beaver call.
e to the u, du / dx
e to the x, dx
Cosine, secant, tangent, sine
Integral, radical, mu dv
Slipstick, slide rule, MIT!