Scribbles. Loose scribbles. That’s really all my brain can process at the moment. I don’t think I can adequately organize my thoughts on my early Ada Developers Academy days into a very coherent blog post. So far, I’m absolutely loving my experience.
I placed my hands on a keyboard, started coding, looked up, and hey! A week went flying by! Time travel is real. It’s difficult to focus on anything else, because it feels like a large portion of my brain’s processing power is always chewing on something code-related in the background.
Some of you might notice that technically I should be reviewing my first two weeks of Ada since that’s currently where the playhead is set in this hectic timeline. However, I’m trying to keep a bit of a time buffer on these posts so that I have enough time to mull over new concepts. Also, this is NOT gonna be a regular or weekly update because damn, things are busy. I’ll just be checking in sporadically.
These are some of my collected notes from the first week of class:
The curriculum is intense.
We learned so much in the first week, I’m just gonna list the main highlights:
- Reviewing pre-assignments (Learn Ruby the Hard Way)
- OS X shortcuts for blazing through windows and text
- Command line essentials and customizing our bash profiles (some folks have fancy colors and emoji already!)
- Prepping our computers for Git
- Ruby language basics (history, strings, conditionals, literals)
I <3 Seattle even more now
During our first week of class, we split into groups and ran around the city for a scavenger hunt game. While I’ve been in Seattle for nearly four years, there are still so many downtown points of interest I hadn’t explored, like the Columbia Tower Starbucks or the awesome Seattle Symphony Soundbridge interactive music space.
— Elise Worthy (@eliseworthy) May 5, 2015
Getting reacquainted with this city as a programming student and as a bike commuter is really fulfilling.
Serious props to those who just moved here
So my brain is fried from our 50-60 hours of thinking about code. I can’t even imagine how difficult and exhausting it was for folks just moving to Seattle. They basically had to scramble for new housing, fly to Washington, and figure out transit before class started. Some students didn’t have a chance to go furniture shopping until the weekend *after *Week 1 because that’s just how busy we were.
Due to the magic of social media, cohort  students got to organize and exchange tips on stuff like:
- Neighborhood points of interest
- Bus passes
- Rental listings
- Why people in Seattle are freaking out on May Day (Another student and I are from Hawaii, where May 1 has a completely different connotation)
- Fun / cheap / free activities in the city
- Planning trips to Ikea
This didn’t really hit home with me until we were outside of the classroom, snagging lunch or celebrating the completion of our first week during happy hour. I would just stop, listen in awe, and feel kinda giddy because conversations about these topics were happening at any given moment:
- Table top gaming
- Video games
- Star Trek / sci-fi tv in general
- Bicycles + bike repairs
- Old internet jokes and memes (like Strongbad!)
During one of these kickass moments, I mentioned to some classmates that writing Star Trek N00b had been very satisfying because some recap fans had never spoken about the TV show with other women. Certain “nerdy” interests are often relegated to male-dominated spaces, and I feel extremely fortunate to be around peers who just get me. I don’t have to launch into a long preamble of nerd justification. That’s pretty great.
Many tech companies here shower employees with amenities like free food, snacks, booze, and ergonomic spaces. It is a line of privilege that will honestly be very difficult to get used to – and I do have major reservations about “getting used to it.” While I’ve heard stories about the tech industry, it does feel surreal to experience it firsthand by attending tech events and visiting work spaces. It’s hard to articulate just how bizarre *this is – many of us *can’t even fathom our former employers ever treating us this well.
Tech opens some interesting doors…like open invitations to attend talks at elite, private clubs. I visited an establishment I would normally have zero business in, considering my socioeconomic background. I mean, when the top fees are somewhere in the $1,500 range for amenities like private valets, billiards, and your own luxury spaceship (kay, I made that last one up), you can see why I wouldn’t be lurking around. According to Sherry Grindeland’s Seattle Times article on elite clubs in Seattle, “Institutions such as the Rainier Club once catered only to Washington’s founding fathers — founding mothers and minorities weren’t even eligible.” She notes that the first woman and black person were admitted in 1978. Hmmm…
While I definitely felt out-of-place during my visit, it was neat that Ada students had the opportunity to check it out for free. I’m going to take this as a sign that society is changing and that barriers to exclusive spaces are continuing to dissolve.
Maybe I’ll feel more comfy at fancy events if I tape my glasses onto a stick.
Phew, this post went on for WAY longer than I anticipated. Stay tuned for more of my adventures with Ada Dev Academy and Seattle tech culture.