var greeting = “Hello World”;
Well, it’s the end of day four of my 18-week, voluntary prison sentence. AKA programming bootcamp. I didn’t cry during class, which is a big improvement over the last few days. I can’t say the same for my programming skills though. I am completely, utterly, fucking overwhelmed. I’ve been thrown to the lions and it turns out, the lions don’t even want to eat me. They’re too busy being embarrassed for me for not being able to understand what a forEach loop does.
CAVEAT: I am not a positive person or an analytical thinker. Which, unfortunately for me, is a great disservice to me on my journey to becoming a developer.
At this point, I don’t even know if I’ll ever become a programmer/developer/middle-class. It’s only the first week, but I’m already ten years behind. I’m frustrated and am already having thoughts of dropping out before it’s too late to get refunded back my tuition.
It kills me.
These thoughts are killing me. Because I’m not sure you understand how badly I wanted this.
I wanted Portland. I wanted Epicodus. I was desperate for a change in my life. I’ve done every odd-job known to mankind. Hell, I’ve pitched a t.v. show to MTV. I was a pizza-delivery driver for Domino’s back in college, where an ex-Juggalo coworker threatened to kill me. I’ve written blogs for a counter-culture, motorcycle Americana apparel site. I’ve done it all. The thing that set me off on this journey though was working for a dinky Facebook gaming start-up in San Francisco three years ago. It was my first job out of college and I was hired as a receptionist. In a company of around 30-50 people, there were a total of 5-7 women. I think there were two in QA, a few in art, the office manager and me. When I started, there were no female engineers. When I got fired, there was one.
The men were baffled by me. One of them was even shocked I graduated from college.
“I feel like you’re just working to survive.”
And I was. That’s what any job is. Is any of it fulfilling? Fuck no. They just didn’t seem to understand that I was just lost. Completely, utterly lost.
During my San Francisco years, I went on to work for several more start-ups, doing meaningless jobs with meaningless titles. The entire time, I silently watched from the other side of the office. I would sit there and watch developers and programmers have stand-ups, go to conference rooms with glass walls, take phone-calls, pace around with furrowed eyebrows… what the hell do they do during the day? How hard could it be?
Turns out, it’s really, fucking, hard.
I did have very grandiose thoughts coming into a bootcamp. My ultimate goal was to be able to know enough where I could work remotely. I could travel and work. Be part of the Pajama Class. I didn’t want to make 100K in San Francisco. I wanted to break middle-class. 45K was just fine with me. It wasn’t just about the fiscal aspect, I just didn’t want to be lost anymore. Now, I realize nothing could transpire out of this. I’m so knee-deep in shit that I can’t even tell what’s shit anymore.
I picked Epicodus because I liked the idea of pair programming. Two minds are better than one. Strength in numbers. Turns out, the pairing is more like “Nuclear Engineer Physicists” to closeted-wino. You can guess which one I am.
Here is my current assessment: the ones who excel are the ones with experience in a previous language. They understand the foundation. Their code is clean. They can talk out loud, map out a way to the solution and actually write the code. My experience? Besides a few on and off again months of tinkering with Code Academy, a few videos on Team Treehouse and the pre-class assignment… absolute shit knowledge of how this stuff works. My mind is completely empty and it terrifies me. I’m an empty array and I need someone to push(); information in my head. (A little joke, neh?)
I’m a hard worker. I know I’m a hard worker. I’ve been in Portland less than a week but only know one street — how to get from my temporary housing situation to the school. I pretend to understand what goes on from 9 am to 5 pm and I rush home and work from 6 pm to midnight, reviewing, trying to understand the day’s code. Oh and I cry. I’ve cried more in the past four days than I did at my grandmother’s funeral. I even had to step away on day 2 so I could run to the bathroom and cry in secret. I bring a bottle of advil to class now.
What terrifies me is that people are having their “Eureka!” moment and I haven’t had mine.
I don’t know if I ever will. The only thing I can do now is code through my tears. I do not know pain. I do not know hunger. I have no choice now but to pray (I’m conveniently pious for an atheist) that one day — it might not even happen during the bootcamp — but one day, things will click for me too.
Not just in programming, but for everything.
Oh, let’s not forget I also got served with a $175 ticket for not validating my ticket on my iPhone for the Max today.
Thanks a ton, Portland.