How come you didn't start playing with the TI-84 programming language instead?
There's no more "battery included" than that, and it's not a pun only: you can program and run on the calculator (not a GREAT way to program it, but quite a nice way to spend your time instead of paying attention to the class :^) ) if you bought it new I guess you had a paper manual for the language (I had one for my TI-89), and there's so little you need to learn and take care of (libraries, dependencies, versions, execution bit, paths... None of these are an issue the novice user will be confronted with. It's like a C64 all over again).
People wondering why you didn't just power through your doubts may be forgetting what the world was like not too long ago. 'Nerds' weren't cool. If you chose to be a nerd it meant _offering_ yourself up as the _loser_ in every sitcom, movie, or book. Playing video games was something you were supposed to grow out of. No one was throwing 80k at a graduate just because they could pronounce 'WWW'. Perhaps most importantly, _every_ school was pushing the race to no where. If you were thinking about a 'trade' it meant you had given up and would crack out fixing sinks for the rest of your life. At _best_ computers were taught as something you'd use at other careers. Not a career itself, really.
* Please note the last line is less an insult to plumbers and more a commentary on how the perception of success is hammered into you as a very white collar thing.