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It’s Thursday evening, it’s pouring rain in Vancouver and it’s the first night of my Intro to Web Development course at BrainStation. I’ve just hit ‘send’ on my final email of my workday, and heading out in the storm to sit in front of a computer for another three hours feels slightly exhausting.
It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been in the classroom, but that first day feeling of school is so engrained in me, I can’t help but recognize that today feels different. I’m curious and slightly daunted by the idea of ‘returning to school’ of course, but after all the positive interactions I’ve had with the BrainStation team leading up to this day, I feel anything but nervous – and every part prepared and excited.
As I walk through the doors, I’m kindly welcomed and I instantly forget it was ever raining or that I was ever tired. My instructor Alex immediately introduces himself and we quickly connect over the fact that we both had long days outside the classroom. I realize he’s another working human just like me, and it’s clear that he’s there out of true passion for his craft and teaching newbies. I check my baggage at the door, feeling motivated to jump into the mysterious world of code.
Alex sets a relaxed vibe for the class, and the next three hours become an interactive whirlwind of HTML, CSS, and all the new-to-me things that come with it like attributes, elements and div class…. along with a really sore brain. Perhaps what sticks out the most, though, is what I don’t experience in the classroom: pressure or fear. I’m seated next to like-minded students with varied professional backgrounds, Alex shares real life workplace experiences and the classroom is an open environment for us to share challenges and work them out together. Alex says a lot of things I jot down to remember for later, but the most important is this: “…learning CSS is all about failing often, failing fast and learning from your mistakes.” I feel an immediate sense of calm, and know that while the next 10 weeks might not be easy, I’ll be motivated and supported to learn because this community is different than other classrooms I’ve sat in before.
There’s a lingering sense of innovation and determination in this space, and if I could wrap all the feelings into one word to describe the vibe so far it would be patience.
The work for next week is clearly laid out, and I am not the least bit intimidated to dive into it outside of the classroom. I have direction, the resources I need, and I am armed with the tools to connect with my classmates or teacher if necessary. I leave the lesson exhausted, but with a tiny sense of pride having written my first few lines of code and excited about the weeks to come.