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Being back in a classroom has not been easy. I’m not going to paint a fake picture and tell you it’s been all rainbows and butterflies, because it hasn’t. Arriving on time at 9AM every day and learning until 6PM straight (less an hour for lunch) is even more mentally exhausting than I remember school being. But at the end of week one, I can confidently share how absolutely worthwhile this experience has been so far.
Day 1 was filled with introductions about the course and getting to know the other 20 or so students and educator’s in the class. It was cool to learn about everyone’s different backgrounds – from finance to sciences, master’s degrees and musicians – and hear from the educators that the world of development can relate uniquely to everyone’s past experiences.
Each day was filled with a ton of learning. This week, we learned how to read and write, in HTML and CSS. What’s impressed me the most is the structure of the curriculum. Each unit is carefully constructed to move onto the next seamlessly and comprehensively. This flow allows for students to learn at different paces and not feel left behind or bored – if you’ve had prior exposure to concepts in the past, you’re able to move onto more in-depth ‘challenges’. Challenges are exercises placed at the end of each new lesson so that you’re able to apply what you’ve just read or learned, and each student is able to submit them to the instructors to receive feedback.
In my previous classroom experience, what I always found to be most challenging was its competitive nature. Having to submit work for grades, comparing them with your peers, and feeling great or discouraged about it was always daunting. On day 1, the educators made it very clear that this course was not going to be run that way. We’re all adults who have taken 10 weeks out of our lives to pursue web development, and it’s ultimately up us to succeed. There’s no shame if you don’t understand something, there’s always an educator around to provide you with their undivided attention, and all the students are excited to help each other out when they can. All that’s really required to be an A+ student is a humble attitude and an open mind to learn (and maybe a little bit of that competitive nature to put against yourself to keep you motivated).
After week 1, I’m so proud to say that I’m able to build my very own website, and understand enough to be able to further customize ‘themes’ on other template/blogging platforms.