I’m a lifer online; I was online back in 1988, and immediately discovered BBS’s (dialing up phone numbers and making friends from nearby towns) -plus PC-Link which was all the USA (it became AOL later) – then went to Hampshire College in 1990 and got my first e-mail, exposed to IRC, chat rooms, and the whole community as it was as the time.
Smaller but pretty much the same.
Got totally wrapped up in it. Spent all of my time at the computer lab. Took greyhound buses to meet people with college money, got wrapped up in their problems even when I was supposed to be doing classwork; and I did this as much as I was totally involved with people’s lives at the college itself, and my own life.
But schoolwork? Meh. So yeah, school was too expensive anyway and I never finished it; not only blowing my mom’s money but it took me years to pay my student loans back.
But, it was an amazing experience just the same. I don’t regret much; I enjoyed the heck out of. I just learned all the stuff they don’t teach you in academia instead of the stuff they do (which I’ve all since learned from Wikipedia anyway )