Time to Get Serious | Day 5

We’re all rolling up our sleeves now as the first week has come and gone. Those who have grasped Ruby are sailing through calm waters at the moment while the rest of us will be spending the weekend cracking down on the gaps in our understanding. The common insight that I’m gathering from various conversations is that, over the weekend, most students will be reviewing certain aspects of the prework and all of the assignments that we have gone through over the past few days.

Before one jumps to the conclusion that we’re slow at grasping concepts, it’s important to understand that the second cohort of Bitmaker Labs is doing far more than what the first cohort did a couple of months ago. What we touched on the second day was equivalent to what our predecessors did in their second week. The prework for this course was significant in order to get us up to the level necessary for the significantly increased expectations. Nonetheless, no amount of preparation can make you ready for the actual experience – something we’re all learning as we’re faced with the coder’s equivalent of a blank page and told to make something out of it. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve shadow boxed if you’ve never been in the ring – we’re in the ring now, we feel the pressure, and we’re training for our next fight. Or, rather, we’re stuck in the ring in a multi-round fight and the only way to survive is to keep pushing forward.

Really, I think that’s one of the benefits of going to these types of bootcamps. In the end, the learning is in your hands – it always has been and always will – but they provide you with a facilitative environment and an atmosphere of high expectations that helps you along your path. After finishing my final university exams I had a month to prepare for this course yet I did more work in the past week than I did over those thirty days. Goals and expectations are set and it is up to you rise to them; your peers inspire you to work harder in the same way that you inspire them; everything exists to energize you. Moreover, if you ever encounter a problem, there’s always a fellow student or the instructors who are able to point you in the right direction. Finally, the most important element that I see at BML is the general freedom that you have in your day – other than the lecture, the structure of the entire day is at your discretion in how you choose to solve the problems presented to you. In many ways, it’s the perfect preparation for a startup environment and I’m glad that it’s structured in such a manner.

Before wrapping this up, it’s worth mentioning the fun project that we had to do. Does anyone remember IRC? I certainly don’t – I was part of the MSN generation. Nonetheless, I had always heard about IRC but steered away from it because I always assumed it was through IRC that little kiddies met “friends” who ended up being Bob the child molester. That aside, we were learning how to make IRC bots in Ruby today; nevertheless, we all downloaded LimeChat and decided to troll each other on the bitmaker channel during the lecture. Creating bots? Naw, let’s pretend like we’re in middle school again – it was good fun.

In short, a weekend of hard work awaits us but it’s within an environment that is pushing us to be our best. Time to buckle down.

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