…Which is something I never would have challenged myself to do, ever. Over the next few weeks you’ll be hearing all about learning to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable.” In this context, truer words have never been spoken. I’m three weeks into the Flatiron Coding bootcamp and its been a hell of a roller coaster ride of emotions (and yet I can wait for that moment when I plummet to the bottom at full speed). On top of all the feels, there are many things left to do and so little time to do them in. I’ll be running through a few hurdles I faced and some actions that have helped me keep my sanity and improved my work- life balance during Mod 1.
Don’t Get Too Comfortable.
Seriously, I did. And If I can give you any advice it’s to stay humble. I was coasting through labs and turning in the required deliverables with the belief that I had been challenging myself. In less words, I thought I knew the material well. I held onto this belief strongly because I had spent almost every day working for 10+ hours. Sure, I was getting things done and drinking plenty of coffee to keep my head above water but was I doing enough?
I Failed and You Can Too!
Surprise! I didn’t pass my first coding challenge. How could this have happened to me? I put in the time. I asked questions. I did the labs. I participated. I understood the concepts. To be fair, I am a notoriously bad test taker. The anxiety gets to me, I race through the readings, forget what I’m being asked, and return the wrong answers. I know I know how to solve this problem but where is my brain when I need it most?
If you end up in this predicament remember to breathe. Take a walk, talk it out, joke about it. Then get your code on. Time to get to work.
Take Action With a Purpose
The first thing I asked myself is how can I moved forward? Obviously, I was devastated to learn that I had not done well on my first coding challenge but what good was it to dwell on the past? I knew I would have another opportunity to showcase my newly learned skills so I had to get my ass into gear and put in the work. I knew I had studied but did I study the way I should have? Hmm, if only there were resources available that could help me on this journey to redemption…
A Few Tips:
- If you find yourself in this position, don’t get down on yourself for too long. Many people have been in your position before and we are all starting at different levels.
- Use all available resources (Readings, Internet, Peers, Coach, Instructor)← in that order. Seriously, I asked so many of my peers how they approached the same problems just to see how they used their logic to get passing code-immensely helpful.
- Slow down. Read the README, READ THE README, READ THE README!!! When starting your coding challenge, read every word carefully. You will see that most answers are hidden in the instructions.
- Take breaks. Go for a walk, I found most of my break through moments when not sitting in front of a monitor.
- Practice. Not just any practice, practice how you will test. Do it in a timed environment to simulate the real thing and guage where you are. This way there are no surprises come game time(props to my coach for this tip!)
Make friends, reach out to those who may not have friends. Get in their face because you’ll probably be together for the next few months.
Identify your weaknesses and face them with practice.
If your code passes, celebrate those small victories!
READ THE README!!!!
Ruby related tips for first code challenge:
Pry the hell out of everything- make pry one of your best friends and you will be thankful.
Know these well:
Iterate through arrays
Enumerables- These can always be searched at any point in time but be focused on (.find, .map, .select,.collect,.filter, etc.) for the first coding challenge.
Class Variables and Methods