GET & Push
After a day of working in small, 2- and 3-person groups on our apps-using-APIs project, two little metaphorical bombs went off in our classroom. The first was our Project Manager’s description of the midterm unit exam we’ll be given a month from now. Performance on the exam, as well as how far along we are in our understanding of the technical material presented thus far, will be a big factor in whether we’re allowed to stay in the program.
The second major input came from David K. Yang and was presentation on what awaits us if we are able to stay in the program as far as Industry Readiness events like the one we had at Google last week and tons of help with our job search both during and after the program.
For me, at least, the talks lit a fire under my butt in a much needed way after this past busy, busy month. So much has happened. I… uh… started dating a fellow student (Hi, Marty!) and we went to the gala together. Just before that I was nominated and then elected to be Class Historian for iOS cohort 3.2 (yay!) and was happy to fulfill my duties by photographing our Halloween party and visit to Google HQ NYC for an entrepreneurship talk, as well as the occasional drive-by cameraphone candid in class. I was assigned and began working with a tutor as well, V., who has been a major help and who I was pleased to meet in person (and not just in Google Hangouts) at the gala and to discover just how tall he is (he said I was tall, too!). Our cohort also had a whole. week. off! —and a generous TA (thanks, Jovanny!) held Monday-Friday review sessions in the classroom all day, and that helped a ton.
Yet despite and perhaps even partly because of all of these great experiences (fear of success, anyone? With a side of impostor syndrome?), I was getting frustrated with my struggle to grok the new concepts we were tossed each week and keep my head above water, especially during assessments. I under-slept and felt the effects of it during lectures. I made a lot of broken, undocumented code.
But lately it has been getting better, despite some low points (e.g., another student leaving the program due to outside circumstances bringing the total to three, some other great students hanging in the balance, nights with no tutors at office hours). The review week helped firm up my foundations and Jovanny not only shared great resources but showed us how to use them properly. The news this week that C4Q would be offering 15 transportation scholarships for unlimited Metrocards across the three cohorts (about 90 students) was really great to hear, as other students have expressed financial stresses due to the hours we keep at C4Q. Most recently, the projects we’ve been working on this week in class have forced me, at least, to really bring everything I know, ask questions about what I don’t, and really see if I can get an app going from scratch (not to mention fill in some holes in my git knowledge).
And now being reminded today of why I’m in the program and what’s really at stake, I feel renewed motivation to dedicate my time and energy to this cause. And yeah, I’m obviously being effected by chaos of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election happening while I write this. No day is promised and the future can change on a dime. People surprise you; people (yourself included) let you down. But those higher ideals are still worth fighting and working for. I hope we remember the fun we had along the way; I know we’ll remember the sweat and tears. I hope we remember everyone who spent a day with us under our leaky roof; I know we’ll be able to rely on each other as we move forward.
I really was humbled and pleased to be nominated to be Class Historian and I take the job seriously, as I hope the people who voted for me knew I would. I’m a little older than the average C4Qer (I voted in the 2000 election—please no recounts ever again), and maybe more than someone younger than me I know how easy it is to lose track of people and memories—how precious the ones you save from the void become. One thing I am sure of, is that for those of us who get through this program, we won’t have done it alone. Everyone here is hard-working and independent, and everyone’s either given or needed help at least once and benefitted from that exchange of knowledge. Put another way, we are each bright lights in the dark, but we all take turns sheltering each other from the wind. Metaphors!
I hope to stay humbled by the people around me and grateful for the all the connections I’ve made and will make in C4Q. I’ll do my best to capture those connections on camera so when we’re all at the 20th annual Bash for Access Code, we’ll remember the (to quote Louis Tur) “shitty journey that [was] totally worth it in the end.”