When You Hit a Wall, Paint the Wall

I love to paint. It’s actually a newly discovered hobby. We have been living in our home for close to two years now but haven’t put much effort into refreshing the house. Until now.  I have been learning React and building an app to solidify what I am learning. Lately I have been hitting some roadblocks in my project and just can’t seem to get around some issues that I am having. As a result, I have finally started painting my office.

The new activity has definitely saved my sanity these past few days and it also made me realize how thin I was stretching myself.  After the General Assembly program ended I anxiously kept learning something for fear of losing my momentum. I’m sure a lot of people can relate to losing motivation when you are tired. Add the usual family duties and job hunting to the schedule and I have just as little free time as I did while I was in the program.

Frankly, I stopped taking care of myself and it is showing. The simple act of painting has helped calm my brain down and my body has started to relax.  I missed this. Being able to just lose yourself in something. No anxiety. No pressure. Just flow.

I’ve made some side goals to ensure I don’t burn out:

  1. Pick two days a week to step away from the computer and let my brain digest what I have learned.
  2. Check in often with my husband to make sure I am not causing him to burn out trying to juggle more so that I can devote more time to programming.
  3. Do something non-tech related that will force me to relax and unwind.

I’m going to keep it simple since I have enough balls juggling in the air.  Now, time to get back to work before I tutor the web dev students tonight.

Taking Charge of my Mornings, One Book at a Time

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It’s been a little over two weeks since I graduated General Assembly’s remote Web Development program. It was three months of intense studying and applying concepts to applications we built from scratch so when the program was done, I took a much needed break and spent time with my family.  Now that my schedule has opened up, I’m trying to pick up the momentum by continuing to learn. First thing I do every morning is read for an hour.

My husband already had a collection of tech books that are valuable for a newbie like me so I lined up five to get started.

  1.   My current reading list:


2.  What is my process for reading them:

Some of books are essentially for refreshing my memory while also picking up on any nuggets of gold that I may have missed. Books like “Smashing WordPress” might be read cover to cover, but before I start with any book, I always peruse the table of contents to at least prepare myself for what concepts will be discussed and whether the book should be read fully or just focus on certain chapters. If the book doesn’t need to be a full read, then I will mark the chapters I do want to read fully and concepts in other chapters that I want to focus on as well. I don’t want to spend too much time reading anecdotes and examples of concepts that I do understand and reserve that time to really examine the concepts I haven’t fully grasped yet.

3.  How do I plan to solidify the concepts in the books?

Since I pre-selected a list of books to dive into, I also made note of which projects I have in my Github repository that could benefit from what I learn. For example, I created a company wiki app as my second project and one area that needs improvement is the styling. It’s really REALLY plain. I made a note to remind myself to take notes of tidbits I could immediately apply to my company wiki app. This will help solidify my understanding of what I’m reading while also polishing my existing projects.

Well I already did my one hour reading session this morning! Now on to some coding practice on codefights.com!

A New Beginning

It is 12:55pm on a Thursday afternoon. After struggling for two hours I finally managed to lull my son to sleep.  I tip toe out of his room hoping that he doesn’t hear the floor boards creak or my stomach rumble. I make my way to the kitchen to make a turkey and cheese sandwich.  There is a laundry list of things that need to be done around the house, including the laundry. Instead I head to the empty room in our house to turn on my laptop and get to work.

I enrolled in General Assembly’s first Web Development Immersive Remote program and I need to get the pre-work done before the remote bootcamp program begins in less than two weeks.  I am anxious to begin the classes.

I often wonder how I am going to balance the work that needs to be done at home and the work that will need to be done for this program. My husband has been pushing me to make this career move since he found out my interest in Web Development about two years ago so I think he will be extra useful for the next three months.

I was working a full time job and fooling around on Codecademy when I came to the realization that I loved learning about Javascript and practicing HTML and CSS. I never imagined myself working in the field though, so the idea of changing careers was not a thought I entertained.

As the years went on I found that the job I had was not fulfilling anymore. A few months ago, while attending a Girl Develop It meetup in my area, I began chatting with this woman who recently changed careers to be a Web Developer. She mentioned that she attended General Assembly’s bootcamp program for Web Development in Boston and had nothing but good things to say about her experience.  She did caution that it was hard work and that you get what you put into the program but if you can push yourself, it is a worthwhile endeavor.

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.
– Chauncey Depew

When I got home that day, I looked up General Assembly’s program and found that they were beginning a remote version of their Web Development bootcamp. It would be 100% online and would have career coaching mixed into the program as well. It was an opportunity I didn’t want to overlook. I signed up and here I am, studying while eating a cold turkey sandwich.

I’m interested to see what this program has in store for me but I am also excited about everything I will be learning: Ruby, MongoDB, SQL and more!  Okay, time to go back to studying…