Because we have an odd number of boots in our Banana Slug cohort, I worked solo during Tuesday morning’s pairing session. It felt strange to work by myself again. On one hand, I was able to work faster, but the trade-off was that I didn’t move through the challenges as deeply as I would have by talking through each problem with a partner. I looked at the code others wrote and was able to refactor a bit, but solo work illustrated the value of pair programming. But more importantly, I missed having the human interaction. A huge part of pair programming is getting to know each other, understanding how we operate, and then untangling a challenge together.
During lunch, we had our photos taken. It felt like school picture day, but way less awkward. The photographer was awesome, and I think we all look like rock stars.
In the afternoon, we paired up and worked through the second half of challenges. Ruby Docs is one of the most powerful tools in our kit, but it also usually pays of to have a conversation with a Google search and see if anyone has struggled with a similar concept. There’s a teeming biomass of programming knowledge out there, and tapping into it can be fruitful. That sentence was gross, but you know what I mean.
Tuesday night was our first mentor night, which meant pizza, beer, and a room full of very smart people eager to share all of their knowledge. I met with one of my mentors, and he was amazing. We used a white board to illustrate how arrays handle data, looked through some of my code from that day, and talked about San Francisco. When we meet again in two weeks, I’m sure I’ll have a long list of new questions for him.
I got home around eleven Tuesday night and worked on a challenge from earlier that day, but my brain was swimming with arrays and abstract data structures just out of my grasp.
Wednesday was an emotional day. We spent a good part of the morning talking about empathy and how to deal with the full weight of what we’re trying to pull off here. I think I knew it on a subconscious level, but the core truth of what’s happening here was laid out for us: Ruby could be obsolete in a few years, as could any programming language. What we’re really learning is how to be empathetic engineers, co-workers, friends, family, and human beings. Sure, we’re learning a tremendous amount about coding, but if we can be empathetic to how another person feels, works, and learns, the technical stuff will come along on its own. It’s much easier to talk through a problem when you can trust that the person you’re working with wants to understand how you feel, too.
The simple act of being aware of each other’s struggles, stress, elation, sadness, hunger, homesickness, confusion, and stress (again) made the entire room feel like a safer, more understanding place. It’s difficult to explain, but I’ll continue to try throughout my weeks here. It’s been a profound and positive experience so far.
But damn to I miss Sophia, Willow, and Rocky.