First week at Recurse Center

Okay. How do I talk about this?

As many people who know me (many more than who actively read this blog), the Spring 2 batch started at Recurse Center, and I am in that batch! So I am in for 12 weeks (with a one-week break in the middle) of intense learning and programming. Anyway, I summarize all of that best in my syllabus here.

I think the best way to articulate my feelings so far is that upon entering this new space each day, I immediately want to take off my shoes. I don’t – I mean, I could, maybe I will – but what I mean is that it viscerally feels like a home.

Every person I’ve met has been radically nice, thoughtful, intelligent, interesting, and kind. “Nice” and “kind” might be synonyms but I wanted to use both for emphasis.

Another anecdote reaching for articulation of emotions: I’ve been flashing back to feelings of my freshman year of college, where I lived in a “residential college” – essentially a dormitory with an application process seeking creative individuals who want to build a community. (But more colloquially known as “where all the weird kids live” – hey, it was a state school). Students and faculty lived together, learned together, and dined together, and I met many of my favorite people in the world there.

So how have I been feeling? Mostly excitement. I started off really digging into things that have been in the back of my mind and I hadn’t dedicated time to work on, and the first three days felt wildly productive, but productive in a space I am already comfortable in. I’m looking forward to pushing myself out of that comfort zone since I’m in such a solidly safe learning zone. But also it was extremely fun and I look forward to running more tests on video things in the future. Maybe I’ll reserve them for when I’m in a particular slump.

By Thursday, I started to feel mentally itchy, like I needed to create something by doing some programming that wasn’t just reading and debugging existing libraries (which I’d argue is still programming? but, like, maybe you know what I mean, maybe I can call that “scripting”). I did spend most of Thursday talking and learning from others, which was great. I’ve been learning so much from others around me, carefully trying to not become intimidated by the expansive and deep knowledge collectively held by the people around me.

I kept trudging forward, working through getting my computer as jazzed up about debugging in C as I am, which took a lot of slow coaxing. I felt a bit frustrated, but I also know that learning feels frustrating, so it’s probably a good way to feel and I should get used to feeling that way often in the next couple of months. I’ve learned a lot about other people’s projects this week but want to move forward out of my comfort zone by doing more actual pairing with my peers (for non-code-writing people reading this, pairing is when two people seek to tackle one programming problem together, side by side, taking turns typing). I also want to do more hands-on-keyboard building-things. I intended to spend today building something unrelated to my larger goal, like this Sonic-type tutorial using three.js, but I got caught up in other things, and that is okay.

Also, I left my laptop charger at RC so I’ll be back there tomorrow, probably bright and early. 🌞