It was not a 'Generic 186/286', it was actually a fully loaded IBM PC AT (yes, that stood for Advanced Technology in September 1985). My employer bought it for me, complete with a huge 40M drive and DOS 3.1 for about $3-4,000 Canadian. It had 640K RAM and a colour screen (la dee dah) and I eventually got a 1200 baud modem that I used to dial into The Well.
The first computer I ever used was probably an HP mainframe running BASIC -- I accessed it through a Teletype filled with a reel of newsprint and a paper tape reader. The modem ran at 110 baud, and it was really noisy.
Life is short: get busy!