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Lessons in Learning

I can still remember learning how to ride a bike, not the big kids’ bike, but a bike with training wheels.  After trying for a while, my mother gave up and left me outside by myself, which usually was not allowed.  But I stayed out there and tried and tried until I could stay upright, and ran inside to let her know that I had done it.  

That memory has been on my mind a lot lately as I’m trying to muster that spirit again to accomplish the full-time coding program.  My story is the same as many adults, had a job and got complacent in pursuing certifications or other education.  In this neglect I forgot the simple truth, learning is hard, and learning on a set schedule is only harder.  For the first two weeks, I did not sleep well with a dream every night about HTML tags and Ruby loops.  My brain felt like it was in lockdown, not able to in-process new information, not spitting out needed information.  I’ve had several days where even basic conversation is difficult as my brain searched for the “puts” and the “gets”.  But with great instructors and a classroom of supportive students, I can tell I’m on the right path, and my brain is awakening.  This is the end of week 3 as I write this and I already feel the stress is worth the effort.  I cannot describe the change from spending my days with coworkers equally focused on just getting through another day, to being surrounded by hope and people planning for greater futures.  Its breathtaking and I feel privileged to have this opportunity.    

All this effort has made me jealous of the children that come to TTS’ Kids Code.  Kids Code is a free, weekly program for kids that range in ages between 7 and 12.  They experiment with different coding concepts weekly.  As I don’t have children of my own, I’ve enjoyed volunteering for Kids Code and talking to them about their experiences.  Many play coding games for fun and they all seem thrilled at the end of the session with what they’ve accomplished.  Their parents seem to recognize the significance of what they are learning and its all smiles and excitement upon picking their kids up after the session.  Programs like Kids Code will encrust coding concepts into future generations, allowing them to pursue that knowledge to whatever depth they desire.  It also has been a fulfilling experience for me going from spending my days trying to conquer coding to seeing kids who enjoy playing with coding.  Volunteering for Kids Code is a good reminder for me to relax and enjoy this new knowledge.  

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