keys & values
Wrapping up the technical portion of C4Q has been bananas, but after seeing 3.1's Demo Day (night) tonight I'm beginning to see that it may be bananas like a fox. I think the scheduling of the hackathon right after the technical portion keeps us from losing steam and hustle. Then, the month-long Capstone project prepares us as close as possible to real-world job-life while still allowing us to flex our muscles and show what we've learned. Plus, the workshops. Oh, the workshops. We have two this week, which means getting home around 11PM more nights than not, hence 3AM blogging. I'm still too wired from the Demo Day (night) to sleep.
The demos and presenters were great (congratulations Access Code 3.1!) and quite inspiring. Both because of their technical and design skills as well as their personal stories. I also thought everyone held up quite well during the panel Q&As as the panel pulled no punches. C4Q as a whole makes me so proud to be a part of it. Everyone really gives their all.
I've struggled coming through the final, out of the hackathon, and into the Capstone. Tech spaces aren't always the easiest when your brain turns against you after too little sleep and a bit more stress than usual. I've had to show my vulnerable side (and, ok, the somewhat bitchy side that's my natural defense mechanism when I have to be vulnerable) more than I would've cared to, all things being equal. But the combination of my brain and its habits plus a bootcamp-like experience was never going to be equal or easy.
Does this count as vague-blogging? Real talk then: I done cried on the rooftop outside the penthouse where we hold class (it was a nice view through the tears, and my classmates came out in force. Thanks for the laughs, Evan). I've cried walking around the Falchi building with my PM when a particularly difficult algorithm defeated my attempts to tame it during the hackathon. And I've cried at home, looking at the calendar ahead for Capstone and pondering my grade on the graduation final, which I'll be taking again. And maybe hardest of all to admit, I've weighed giving up valuable aspects of the program in order to somehow compensate for my slowness in comprehension and mastery. I didn't have to, thankfully, and I'm so glad that the C4Q staff came through and helped me find a way to work with what I've got. I'm going to give my all to the Capstone, and then to the graduation test retake, and then to the job search, and someday, spirit-willing, to my first tech job. And I can do that all while still working with the brain and body I've got, and the limits I'm aware of, and the hustle I'm leveling up on thanks to C4Q.
Seeing all the different projects completed by the different people that make up Access Code 3.1 helps me envision what it'll be like when Demo Day roles around for us on 3/21 at Squarespace (heyyyy Squarespace!). It means so much to see the volunteers come out and hear the excitement in their voices. It helps me believe that working through and with all the sturm und drang my brain kicks up when it's bothered will be worth it in the foreseeable future. Some days more than others the obstacles are clearer than the Way and it's easy to forget they are the Way.
It may be too soon to say this as I haven't written a line of code for Capstone yet (got some spiffy logo designs though, look out!), but I'm at peace with where I am in the program, what I bring to it, and the steps I'm taking to get better little by little and day by day. And that'll get me through tonight, tomorrow, and the rest of the week.
And just to belabor the point, if I could've done this without crying on the roof I WOULD'VE, but since that experience is part of my C4Q journey, I'm going to own it. Some of what I bring to tech is activism in the form of not being ashamed of talking about mental health, and some people I really admire in the tech sphere have been professionally open about their struggles with depression and anxiety, which has made me feel more welcomed and excited to become part of the tech community as a whole. I want to keep that feeling alive for the people behind me that will be looking to me to set an example of what tech is and could be. There are many ways to pay it forward.