Understanding the Language of the Digital World

When putting ENGL340 on my spring 2024 semester schedule, at first glance, I assumed that it would be just like every other English course offered at SUNY Geneseo. In which we would read a book, discuss it in class, and then write a five page thesis paper on our evaluation of the work. But after the first week, I realized this would be nothing like a class I have ever taken. I am an English Literature major for a reason, I do not get along well with advanced mathematics and while I do not consider myself a tech genius I believe I can work out many basic problems and find solutions. This class, as of six weeks in, has taught me that there is so much more to technology than I know.

My peers and I grew up with rapidly advancing mobile technology, most if not all of us had an Ipod Touch when we were 12 years old, given to us by our parents for “emergency purposes”. That quickly morphed into friends on Snapchat, texting memes all day, posting videos on Musical.ly, etc. And what once was for “emergency purposes” became everyday social life. Trends emerged and fell within weeks and there was a whole new pool of young impressionable teenagers surfing the web and falling into rabbit holes they ought not to be. We grew up fast, the world was literally at our fingertips for the taking at all times. We saw all the good and the bad, we still do, it’s just our life now.

My dad is a tech guy, he warned me early on about the implications of publicity and to watch out for random text messages and strange emails from unknown faceless people. Because of that, coming into this class I knew that “CPU” stood for central processing unit and the “cloud” stored all the information that I wanted it to somewhere in space, but I had no idea what that all actually meant. I had no idea that I could access it by myself; that I could, as a book loving English major, be taught to understand the language of computers and utilize it to make my life easier. Even six weeks in I have a better understanding of such intangible objects than I ever had before. Now I understand what my dad does (in a more simple form).

While this is not the direction I want my life to go in, like my father’s has, I can go into the world having a solid understanding of markdown language and why it is important to know. Now, my computer is not just a means for submitting assignments and scrolling on Pinterest, it’s a whole new world built on a language that I can finally start to understand. As the semester progresses and inevitably comes to an end, I am excited to learn more about my computer, its unique language, and the digital world. Therefore, I will feel more prepared for where ever my life goes after college because the digital world is not going anywhere anytime soon and understanding its language will help me succeed in the future.