01 Apr 2019
Brock Ellis

Reflections on the first week of Code Academy

tl;dr Months of work and effort culminated in the first week of our intensive cohort killing it

Dear diary,

This last week may have been one of the more trying weeks I’ve ever had.

When I got involved in the Code Academy, it was as a teacher. I love to teach and when I am helping others learn how to code, I feel like I’m in my natural element. However, trying to lead a big project like this is something else entirely. I’ve felt a ton of pressure since we announced back in October (maybe even earlier) that we were doing a full time model. It was my baby. I proposed it, I fought for it, and I defended it. I knew that if you were going to make it as a junior programmer, you’d have to make a crazy commitment and stuffing 400+ hours of study in a 3 month span definitely qualifies as crazy. I knew it was the only way to make sure students were job ready at the end, but I wasn’t 100% certain it would fly in Omaha.

This week proved me wrong. It’s not the model that is going to make the students successful; it’s the students. Holy crap, these folks are awesome. We knew we had to make sure everyone knew it was going to be struggle, and I never tried to hide the fact that it was going to be hard, but every single one of them seem to be stepping up the challenge. One of the biggest issues with the first iteration of the Academy was that it was promised to be too easy- definitely had to make sure we didn’t repeat that mistake again. No students admitted to going home in the fetal position during the first week, which I see as a huge success in and of itself.

Not sure I’ll ever not feel awkward in my role at the Academy. I love to write code and being a hyper social rah-rah cheerleader is tough on me most days. Sometimes I feel like I’m not giving it my all and then I just end up feeling guilty because that’s the role I signed up for and that the students are counting on (maybe). The guilt just makes me more reserved and I end up getting mad at myself. I probably need to be more self aware in those situations and either a) give myself a kick in the ass and a peptalk to do better or b) just call it quits earlier and do better next time. Really nervous for these upcoming meetups. Truth be told, I haven’t been to many of these either, so I’ll be just as new as the students. Social Brock says: “Awesome! We’ll all learn how to do this together!”. Introvert Brock says: ‘Shit man, this is gonna be awkward af.”. Yet to be seen which version of me shows up more often.

Week 2 is going to present some challenges. Still looking for some folks to help out with resumes and interviews. Damn, these emails take up a lot of time. Feel like I’ve been doing nothing but emails the last 2 weeks and don’t have much to show for it. Just don’t want anyone to be disappointed in the program. That’s what is motivating me. People signed up for a program– people are sacrificing a ton to be in this program. My program. Don’t F it up. They’re counting on you.

Haha. No pressure, amirite?