I started at Georgia Tech as an undergraduate in 1990, before there was even a “Computer Science” department – it was called “Information & Computer Science”, and in an unusual turn actually grew out of “Information & Library Science” rather than Math or Electrical Engineering as in most Universities.
When I started, I hadn’t even declared a major, so I was a member of the presigious UGC department – Undecided General College. I declared Physics for a couple of years, but quickly realized I wasn’t actually going to become a physicist. But as I’d always loved building things with computers, it became obvious that CS was where I belonged.
I was on the co-op program (for those unfamiliar, this is like an ongoing internship, where you alternate quarters between school and a job), which was one of the best decisions I ever made. I initially worked at a lab at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), where I was building control systems for some high-temperature fiber optic experiments. But when I changed majors to CS, I got an opportunity to work at Lotus Development in Atlanta, where they worked on Ami Pro.
From there, I ended up joining a group of developers who left to form a small game company, and ended up working full time for some years. I had a blast, learned a lot, and spent so much time working that I almost didn’t get around to graduating. I finally dropped all my job responsibilities around 1997-1998 to focus on finishing my degree before they kicked me out.