I had my first personal computer in 1981, and started taking courses in college then too. My first modem was 300 baud and had Compuserve for a while. I used the internet I believe shortly after it came up in 1983 (see article below) while I was in college It may have been in the mid 80's that I actually used it to send my first email.
I started using the internet (this was before web browsers/mosaic) when I was in college. We had internet access through school and command line stuff on our BSD unix workstations. Back then it was stuff like telnet, ftp, chat/talk, finger, etc .. I actually had friends like one in Australia that I would chat with at odd hours in the morning. It was real time chat where you could actually see the other person typing as you typed. It was the early version of IM.
I feel privileged to have seen the evolution of personal computers and the internet every step of the way. I think it is one of the truly great achievements in the last century that has impacted so many parts of life. I think the revolution will continue to help us become smarter and break down barriers between nations and people if the governments just get out of the way. In the U.S. I think it is the ultimate expression and enhancement of our free speech in many ways. (the internet that is)
P.S. I know people get a kick out of Al Gores comments about the internet, but Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, actually applauded his role in the internet. I worked at MCI/Worldcom when Vint was working there. This is what he saidhttp://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200009/msg00052.html