They say Thursday is the day that really throws people during Week 1. After today, I’m not sure if it’s possible to get thrown any harder.
At first, everything was great. Mandatory yoga happened from 8 to 9 and my back really needed it. I could have done without all the uncontrollable public sweating (all from me, mind you), but I’ll take what I can get. I can’t wait for the next class.
Wednesday was all about iteration and recursion, and I was all about sitting stumped and trying to diagram out the building blocks of some basic mathematical algorithms. The idea was to learn how computers handle data by trying to get some well-known mathy searchy sorty stuff to work in code.
Just like yesterday, my pair I got stuck on the first couple challenges and rode them all the way into midafternoon. By the time the 6pm open mic rolled around, my pair was heading off to a one-on-one mentoring session and I was still looking at two unfinished challenges.
I still have one to finish, and I’m debating whether I want to dive into anything more than pseudocode before I go to sleep. Pseudocode is a plain-English description of the code you want to write, step by step, in meticulous detail. If you can write it well, daunting programming challenges can be reduced to mere syntax lookups before you’ve even defined your first method.
So, should I bust out one more, or save it for tomorrow, which will likely beat me up in new and exciting ways without the help of any straggling core challenges? (Forget about the stretch stuff, so far I’ve been calling it a day if I can get the cores done and zonk out sometime before 1am.)
I don’t know at this moment. But at this moment, I’m typing on a DBC computer. So guess where I’m sleeping tonight?
Luckily, my non-yoga clothes weren’t even walked in yesterday so they’re still fresh. But there’s no way I’m going to be on campus after 6pm Thursday. I’ll need at least 8 hours tomorrow night, in my own bed.
I just couldn’t manage to pull myself away from my problem. We get challenges requiring us to write tests for the code we need to write, then write the code that passes each test one by one. I had completed the challenge as written, and then I changed one of the test conditions and broke everything. But I didn’t want to change it back, because the second part of the challenge needed the change condition. And hey, by the way, why hadn’t the first test anticipated the difficulty of that condition? Was DBC underestimating my swagger? All of a sudden I had this big chip on my shoulder and I needed to prove to myself that I could beat the challenge.
Well, I won that battle. And I lost the war. Because now it’s too late for me to feel safe commuting to Uptown and I could really use a comforter. Oh well. Lesson learned. They weren’t playing when they told us newbies to be deliberate about our food and sleep habits.
I think I’ll wrap it up after pseudocode tonight and sleep on it. Diminishing returns, right? What would probably take me 90 minutes now might use up only a third of that time when I’m well (enough) rested in the morning.
Ironically, not needing my usual to-from commute time means I’ll actually get more sleep tonight than I did yesterday or the day before. I know from Tuesday’s EE session that I’m probably not supposed to sugarcoat suffering, but AT LEAST seven hours is more than five and a half.
One last note: I’m cranky now, because the coder’s high has given way to real fatigue. But the last four hours have been the most rewarding time I’ve spent in Chicago since my arrival. When you’re really in it, creative struggle has no substitute in the known universe.