christieeveleigh0@gmail.com
WeThinkCode_ 2020 Cohort: The First Week

Monday: Day 00

It’s my first day in the WeThinkCode_ 2020 cohort. I survived the intensive C bootcamp in February and made it into the program which was promptly delayed due to the Corona Virus outbreak. Though extremely grateful, I arrive feeling nervous. The walk through the empty V&A Waterfront was bizarre. Most of the usual corporate personel are working from home, and the air feels polar opposite to when the crowds were ever-present earlier in the year.

The C Bootcamp is was one of the most gruelling three-week periods of my life. I can’t believe how much I learned. I can’t believe how much I cried. I think everyone, regardless of whether you want to be in the program or not, should do this bootcamp. WeThinkCode_ not only teaches grit, they forge it!

Tuesday: Day 01

Yesterday went off with a slight hitch. We were temperature scanned and given a bracelet to show we had been tested. Our online in-campus induction was delayed to today at 1 pm because the internet stopped working. I find the staff members to be really on the ball at keeping us informed about when the next meetings will be.

I have some time to kill until our official induction with the Joburg campus happens at 1:00 pm. There’s a really great tea stand just down the road that I am thinking about at this very moment. They have a wicked flavour called Devil’s Advocate. A hearty mix of chilli and ginger. I’m considering putting together a tea budget, limiting myself to one R20.00 cup per week. I think I’ll need it.

The curriculum has changed this year. Instead of doing C, we’ll be doing Python. We have another induction tomorrow to take us through the curriculum which I’m looking forward too. I’ve done some Python exercises in preparation for the program and found it was much more pleasurable than C. I’ve also heard that we’ll be learning a lot through developing text-based games. Cool.

The Day 01 induction was interesting. Each staff member spoke on their area of expertise, covering everything from general admin to the WomenThinkCode= program. Our CEO Nyari Samushonga, as fabulous as ever, reminded us of the values of our institution. Grit, curiosity, ubuntu and responsibility. Ubuntu is uniquely South African concept. In a peer to peer learning environment you can only rely on each-other and I hope our cohort can internalize these values and use them for the benefit of our country. How patriotic.

As I was beginning to feel a surge of inspiration, our internet cut out again so we took a break to sort that out.

Wednesday: Day 02

It was so cold this morning I felt like my hands were going to fall off. The brisk walk through the harbor helped and now I sit at my desk, patiently awaiting the technical induction at 10:00. Today we’re going to go over our curriculum. I’m not sure what to expect, we’ll go over what assignments are due in the next couple of weeks and probably be shown what IDE to use. It’s 4 and a half hours long. I know I’m not the only one feeling anxious about the upcoming assignments. Feeling as though the next two years will be as intense as the bootcamp has got me on a permanent baseline of anxiety. I’ve been reassured by my second year friends that this will not be the case.

I’ve already broken my tea budget and am considering investing R100.00 into a pack of fancy tea. The pack contains 100 grams of loose leaf. A big average tea bag weights around 5 grams so I could yield about 20 cups of tea from the pack. However then I would be limited to only 1 flavour of tea until the pack runs out. It makes economic sense but I’m not sure if I am ready for that kind of commitment.

It’s 9:48 and we’ve been informed that today’s induction has been delayed by an hour because of technical issues at the Joburg campus. Oops.

Advice to those in the Bootcamp

If you are currently in the WeThinkCode_ 3 week bootcamp, the best advice I could give you is to stick with it. You’ll cry a lot and be tired to the core of your being but if you can make it through the 3 weeks you will come out the other side having a basic knowledge of C and a newfound feeling of self-reliance. It’s as tough as it is worth it. I found a sense of community and peer support I didn’t know could be a thing. The people around you are the best part and your biggest resource. Don’t get caught up in the chaos of it all, and don’t let overwhelming emotions push you out of finishing.

Thursday: Day 03

We came in to a surprise this morning, our operating system had been changed to Devian! After some confusion we were able to access the WeThinkCode Learning Management System, for which we are the guinea pigs. We struggled through setting up our new environment and went through the Getting Started module. Peer collaboration is vital. Some of the tasks didn’t work because of system errors and we had to work around or exclude them entirely. Things feel disorganized but I understand this is the first time they are trying the new curriculum out.

Overall, I feel exhausted and generally discouraged. I’m guessing once we’ve settled in and gotten used to the systems things will feel less stressful. We’ve been given a task to create a hangman game in Python. To check if it works or not we need to submit the file as a test, but the program they have to test the files is down.

I leave college today wondering whether the next two years are going to make me feel like the bootcamp. Big ouch to my self-esteem.

It’s Friday. All in all,

I feel much less emotional today. A good friend and I went for a walk mid-freakout and he gave me a little pep talk.

We continued working on hangman.py and came to a solution for the first part of the exercise. We’re starring the second part next week.

It was a good week. A structured week. If you’re not sure what to expect when joining WeThinkCode_’s next couple of cohorts, I would tell you not to expect anything. The staff will tell you where to go and what to do. You will be informed. You will figure it out. All you need to survive Week One is to listen, collaborate with the people around you and check your damn email.

Good luck out there soldier. I believe in you.

© Christie Eveleigh Marx 2020

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