fallthrough & overflow
Public speaking is rough, even in a single 1-minute dose. That was how long the mini-speeches on various MIT Top 15 Smart companies we gave to the class were today. We had about 15 minutes to research the companies before our speeches. I was towards the last of the class to speak and had chosen 23andMe as I remembered the controversy over their business model from when I was a medical secretary at a genetics clinic. Since someone had also chosen 23andMe before I spoke and done a good job of covering the basics of the company and its mission, I was able to devote my full talk to my research on doctors' criticisms of and the FDA moratorium on the company.
My voice shook in my head as I tried to project to the back of the room and my spine was ramrod. My stomach felt like it was crawling down my torso in an attempt to fall through my body. Nerves. They jangled beneath the surface of my skin as I sat down after the talk. I was still in my head when the leader of the career readiness talk asked what we thought of the exercise. A voice from behind me (I was in the front row) piped up, "I thought Margaret's speech was the best. I was engaged the whole time." At least that's what I think was said, I was totally caught of guard for a second or two. After the surprise subsided, I was filled with nerd delight at hearing the kind words. It felt great. I thanked the student both in the moment and after class and I was just tickled pink—not an expression I use a lot.
After wrestling all morning and afternoon with binary, 32 & 64 bit, and Doubles & Floats, it felt so nice to have it declared that I'd done something right in one fell swoop. Celebrate the little things, right?
Another little victory from yesterday's office hours: The volunteer tutor asked me why I applied to C4Q. I explained about attending the career rehabilitation center and taking a multitude of aptitude tests.
"Despite all evidence to the contrary," I said, gesturing at my laptop and referring to the almost 2 hours of tutoring he'd helped me with, "I actually scored pretty high on the abstract reasoning and logic aptitude tests."
"No, no, I didn't think that," the tutor calmly stated. "Trust me, I've been teaching programming for ten years. You're not one of the people who shouldn't learn programming. Especially if this is just your third day. No, you're fine." This was such a relief to hear. It surprised me how much of a relief it was, especially after struggling for two hours with where clauses and value binding. Another little victory, just when I needed it. I thanked the tutor when I left office hours and told him I hoped he'd tutor again, and meant it.
I like that these little victories seem built into Access Code's structure. The program seems to attract (and choose?) people who support and are interested in others. The classroom, to me, feels like a space where we succeed and struggle together. I hope everyone feels that way. All of this goes a long way to making it easier to tackle heavy subjects like the intricacies of bytes and floating numbers, which I'm still working on. But I know my peers and the faculty have my back. I hope I can continue to give them back everything that they've given to me and more.