My Little Blog

A blogging framework for hackers.

It Gets Better

We’re closing in on the 4th week of Flatiron School and so far it’s been great. I get up 10 minutes before my alarm clock every morning and I look forward to seeing my instructors and classmates. There are so many people in the class that I revel in learning something new about them every day. There are fun team-building exercises and plenty opportunities to get to know each other better – “lunch! oh yes, lunch!” But that’s not the whole story.

The 12-week immersive program is definitely intense. I have to be honest, it’s been a really trying few weeks for me. While there are 4-weeks of prework to complete, it hasn’t prepared me for what was to come. Bear in mind that I walked into this as a non-programmer with a geeky techie penchant.

What I’m learning, after interacting with other students, is that this type of course attracts many of a certain kind of person: the A-type. So let me digress for a moment. What’s an A-type person you ask? Well, in my interpretation we’re looking at a set of a highly competitive, high strung, multi-tasking, impatient and workaholic types. Now let me ask you this. You take a whole bunch of people like this, put them in classroom and tell them not to compete against each other… and what do you get? You get a bunch of people gauging the rate of their learning against everyone else’s, which translates to: [fingers spelling out “L” on my forehead].

We’re all strongly encouraged not to do this. But do we do that? Of course not. We go home, cry on our pillows and wonder why we’re such idiots (or maybe I’m just speaking for myself). The funny thing is that every person I’ve talked to claims to be the most behind in their learning. Seriously. We’ve come to the point that we’re even competing on who’s the most behind. I think I’ve made my point on personality type.

Anyway, what I’ve learned through this process is that learning how to program is challenging for many reasons, few of which are technical. Given the time and the inclination, I believe that anyone who puts their mind to learning any topic will eventually learn it. The challenge of this program is entirely affected by one factor: time. Can you learn it fast enough? This means battling your own ego on a daily basis, and learning how to deal with your frustrations.

I’m not going to pretend that I woke up one morning and everything magically became easy peasy lemon squeezy. It’s only week 4 and there’s a long way to go. Things are gradually getting better mostly through my own efforts. So here are some key take-aways: take ownership of your learning status (did I do all the homework? did I suffer the blank screen glare until I found a solution, or did I ride someone else’s coat tails?), stop comparing yourself against others (yeah, right), and chill the f*ck out (there are worse things that could be happening in your life). Savor those “yessss” moments when you figure out the most elementary things. And remember that at the end of the day, it gets better… albeit incrementally.