So, that was quick. Here I was whining and freaking out about the job search and instead I find myself settled in a week and a half.
I’m a Full Stack Software Engineer at Udacity! I am so excited. Everyone there seems so awesome and I really believe in online/alternate education and have always wanted to get into that niche.
So no sob stories to read about here for another few months. Instead you’ll get to read about my shenanigans trying to find an apartment, bringing my kitties down from Oregon, and buying everything in IKEA.
I definitely plan to keep up with my Sunday/Monday posting schedule but I’m not sure what to call these anymore. When I was in Hack Reactor it was easy to call them “Week #: (insert witty title)” and now I think I just have to continue with my old standby of vaguely overwrought witty/melodramatic titles or it will take all the fun out of my posts.
Any illusions I had of getting some sleep after Hack Reactor was over was complete wishful thinking. I have been moving and doing and emailing and talking and coding and my life is just as crazy as ever… and I love it. That terrified feeling from the last week of Hack Reactor is gone. I mean, obviously there are nerves and ups and downs to this whole process, but there are also the awesome moments. The fun of coding challenges and flexing my brain at a whiteboard. The awesome talks with some really cool engineers and just the constant feeling that I’m still learning and growing as an engineer even when I’m not technically “learning”.
And just to prove there ain’t no rest for the wicked, over the weekend I attended the Launch hackathon. We weren’t doing it to win any prizes but I attended with a couple of the Hack Reactor ladies and we had a lot of fun putting Marmot Creek together. Also, for my zen like moment of the week, a picture from the wharf this morning:
I made it. I landed in SFO yesterday and here I am sitting in Ava’s apartment in Burlingame and realizing I packed way too many sweaters. Seriously, it started raining in Portland as we were flying to the airport and then I get here and it’s gorgeous – slightly breezy but super sunny.
In many ways it feels like I was on vacation and now I’m back, fitting right back in to the swing of friends and California. The other half of me wavers between feeling like now is the vacation and realizing that I’m going to be here for a while. At the airport I was so excited but then as I hugged my parents goodbye and entered the queue for TSA I started bawling. This is new and scary and as much as I want this, my safety net is mostly gone. I can’t just drive an hour and end up at my parents’ house.
I just need to breathe and give myself some time and start doing fun things. And then just tell myself the worst that could happen is I decided after the three months is over that I want to go home and find a job in Portland (I really doubt I will feel that way by that point, but it’s comforting).
This was supposed to be a happier post, but really I just needed to say everything that I’m thinking. I also want to be able to link to this post a year from now and see how much has changed because this last year has been tremendous. Also palm trees still make me smile.
It didn’t hit me until my piercer started talking about the aftercare, but this piercing is probably the best thing I could have done to commemorate my new life as a Software Engineer.
It’s hard to see even in the picture above, but I got my nose pierced today (I also put on makeup and tweezed my eyebrows for the photo so I’m feeling pretty damn girly). There are all sorts of reasons I could have said that I got this piercing: I wanted to celebrate leaving behind Oregon for California, I wanted to celebrate my acceptance into Hack Reactor, I wanted the world to know that I’m finally starting to feel OK in my own skin. None of those was the real reason I walked into that shop. In reality I walked in there because I wanted something different. I wanted to be one of the cool kids and get my nose pierced. Even at 27 I still want “in”.
What I got out of getting my nose pierced was much more than even the symbolism I wanted to attach to it in the first place. After the initial high of wanting my nose pierced, I walked into the store still a little bouncy and chose my jewelry. Then I sat in the chair, saw the needle and the giant tube they were going to stick in my nose, and started to freak out a little. Even knowing that the pain would last for a second as the piercing dude assured me (while making small talk about how awesome San Francisco is in the process) I was tense. Then I got stabbed with a needle, a piece of metal was twisted in to my nose and I looked at myself in the mirror.
It was a pretty awesome feeling and it wasn’t even about the jewelry. It was when I saw myself in the mirror that all that symbolism that I’d tried to force on this tiny piece of jewelry suddenly settled around me. It was the nose stud, yes, but it was so much more. It was the Lexapro that I started taking about a year ago after a panic attack left me feeling like I was going to die that very minute alone in my apartment while I sobbed on the phone to my mom that I couldn’t breath and my mom was an hour away and probably feeling pretty helpless herself. It was the car keys to my very first car that I bought last year and the moment this year when I first drove on the freeway alone. And it was the feeling I felt when I visited Ava after she moved to Burlingame. It felt like peace and home and like I could become whoever I wanted to be there. It was then that I started to fight for that dream.
In the end, I will say that I got this nose piercing for Hack Reactor. This nose will take about 4 months before I can safely put new jewelry in it. This program will be over around the same time. Then I can put on a new career and wear “Software Engineer” like a badge of honor (along with some cute/geeky new nose bling).
Non programming fluff the past few days. Family was in town and I’m starting to pack up the apartment I’ve lived in for four years. Subconsciously I seem to think the faster I clean out my apartment the sooner I get to move down to California. I think my subconscious is going to be disappointed when I have a bare apartment and another month of work in Salem.
Impostor syndrome describes a situation where someone feels like an impostor or fraud because they think that their accomplishments are nowhere near as good as those of the people around them. Usually, their accomplishments are just as good, and the person is being needlessly insecure.
The lack of posting this week is entirely related to the above quote. I spent the long weekend working on my pre-course work for HackReactor. It was awesome and fun and sometimes frustrating but I was powering through it. Then somewhere on Sunday, I got stuck. It was a stuckness of monumental proportions and looking back on it now I find it funny.
I have a method to my madness with coding. I add things, test them and add some more until I get stuck at a point where either I’m not sure how to implement something to make it do what I want or something I thought I’d implemented isn’t doing what I expected it to. Then I do a bunch of Googling, look at some examples, hack those examples to fit into my code and all is well again.
And that’s how it should have gone when I got stuck on Sunday. Instead I kept banging my head against the brick wall of stuckness, moving some code bits, rewording some code bits, and finally starting all over again in frustration. By Tuesday night as I had a Google Hangout date with my best friends, I was freaking out. Please keep in mind that I’d received this homework on Friday and I don’t have to finish it until I start school in November and at the point of my stuckness I was about half way through with all of it.
So yeah, the freak out was definitely unwarranted. I made it this far but I’m still worried I’m making a bad choice/going to be that one person in their program who doesn’t get a job/nobody will ever love me. You know normal fears.
It’s a day by day process telling myself I’m good enough. Today I finally came back to the thing I was stuck on and sorted out my issues in about an hour. Now I’m on to the last step, my best friend recursion.
Early on in my transition to girl powered coder-dom I made a conscious decision to get everything I could that was pink. I like to flaunt my girliness and for as geeky and tomboyish as I can be, I love pink. My phone cover is pink, my tennis shoes are magenta and now I have a pink cover on my MacBook and a cheapo pink wireless mouse. Next on my list is some sort of bright pink thumb drive. I like to be geeky chic, if you will.
I’ve been in love with Lorde (she’s only 16!) for a little while now, her song Royals has been playing on the Portland alt rock station for the past few months and I immediately went and found all of her music. I’ve been using this song as my confidence boost. I like to repeat “I’ll find my own bravado” to myself as I work on coding or just randomly at work. Not out loud though. I’m not that crazy – yet.