Episode 10: Being a fortune teller for your own
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Episode 10: Being a fortune teller for your own learning.

by Dania MahNovember 4th, 2017
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(Firstly, I never got the chance to say “Hello! Hackernooners!” It’s interesting writing for people who I don’t know. Long story short, I am at a bootcamp coding course and plan to write a post for every day I code. I hope there are many, as I tend to code most days. Secondly, I’m already four post behind but that’s okay as I’ve learnt “it’s all right to not finish things on time but give it your all” and due to it being the second week, where the schedule I got used to changed. So hopefully, everything will set itself in stone).

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(Firstly, I never got the chance to say “Hello! Hackernooners!” It’s interesting writing for people who I don’t know. Long story short, I am at a bootcamp coding course and plan to write a post for every day I code. I hope there are many, as I tend to code most days. Secondly, I’m already four post behind but that’s okay as I’ve learnt “it’s all right to not finish things on time but give it your all” and due to it being the second week, where the schedule I got used to changed. So hopefully, everything will set itself in stone).

Even though one does a coding course bootcamp for three months, the journey of code, of design of learning anything really never ends. Yet the idea of ‘there are ends in learning’ has been engrained into our brains ever since we were kids. At school, we followed a certain curriculum, knew there were constructed structures and aimed to race to finish them. What mattered at the end of the day then, were scores made up for letters and percentages.

But let’s say, in a parallel universe, what happens when that’s all gone?

You’re right, that idea in a parallel universe is nonsense because it exists in the reality that we live after schools! We somehow adapt from suddenly having no structure of what to learn to having to either make our own. Either that, or we lose track of learning and let whatever lessons come to us, come to us for us to learn (or not).

I admit, I am definitely one of those people that lost track of my learning, and I only realised when a coach had pointed it out. I had just been accepting what curriculum came to me, without realising that I could actually shape what I want to take from this bootcamp. I guess I didn’t do anything at first because to begin to think about ‘shaping my learning’ is overwhelming!

Though, this is important for me to learn because it turns me from being a “floopy tortilla” of a human being to someone who shows drive in my “self-learning!” Drive is important because it shows people your passion, and then that attracts people who say “Hey, I want her to work with her and I’ll hire her!”.

Yes, that’s my young recent graduate mind’s logic on how this is good for jobs, which is half reality and half fiction

With code, there are so many new terminologies and directions one could go into to learn, one could go insane if they’d tried to finish everything. It would be a never-ending satisfying journey that will leave one very unhappy if their goal is to finish.

Plus, there wouldn’t be a point in finishing the tasks or given material because as we all know in life, you aren’t given a reward if you do. In fact, it’s a waste of your time if the stuff you learnt isn’t retained in your brain, practiced or kept somewhere if all you want to do is finish.

Technology will keep growing faster, updating itself more and more alien lingo will be spewing out for us to teach ourselves. Learning code is a great example of how learning will never end, and is something that we should work with.

We always feel we are constrain by a time whether it’s due to a bootcamp, a community or our own self inflicted schedules. We need to break out of these constraints on time and learning, so we can focus on what we are learning rather than when we should have learnt something.

For those, like myself who have let the wind sway them to stumble across lessons for us learn,

How then can be in control of which current we go with? Like how turtles swim to certain currents for migrating, How can we be in control of what path we take for our learning?

A Retro, otherwise known as Retrospective:

Ed coaching a class for retro

A retrospective session is when the whole class (or majority) comes down to reflect on what they have done for the week. There are boards, each dedicated to the following number of categories, depending on what the coach decides what to do.

2 categories example.

The categories we did this Friday are the following:

  • What was the learning objective/objectives this week
  • Why was it my objective?
  • What did I struggle with this week?
  • What did I succeed in this week
  • What can I improve on for the next week?
  • How can I enjoy myself more?

Once stuff is written on the board, people can go and put a plus next to what people wrote if they felt that was their common struggle, success of goal for that week. Then, the coach goes through the board, discussing all off our stated points and seeing what we can improve on. He also would give advice on how we should tackle our guide of learning for code.

For instance, with anything answer you write on the board, it’s best to be:

  • Give yourself time to ponder what it is exactly you want to target
  • Give yourself a maximum that you can handle (As in don’t overload yourself)
  • Be specific in your writing (Go deep to the core of your goal)

By keeping track, and writing all of these points out, or at least putting one answer for every question, it narrows down what you felt good about and what you need to improve on. Doing it in a group is interesting, however, because the space that is created is non-judgemental. Everyone can laugh together, focus together and think together. It’s almost like a bonding session without talking directly to each other.

It seems like a lot of effort to do this once every week but masters, such as Ed and the rest of the coaches do this everyday.

Though, I’ll lay down an interesting question.

In Makers, every week we believe we will learn something new and there may be weeks where we reinforce what we learnt. Although we could read through material for next week, we are probably all struggling to already keep up the pace and focusing on the current stuff we are given now. In short, we will never really know all the things we’re learning in the week to come or where we are going with our learning.

So, how can one know what their goals are for the week if they don’t know what they are learning about in the coming week? It’s like asking us to be a fortune teller for our own learning or goals, of what we could learn.

Where do we even begin? That’s always the question isn’t it. The world is an oyster full of many things to learn, where does one even start?

I believe there always has to be a kick-off point somewhere, and that could be you picking up a book on what you’re wanting to learn or finding what something means on the web. At Makers, obviously there’s a specific curriculum we are doing and every week is the “kick-off” I suppose. However, as we are exposed to a new coding topic, there is a lot of endless exploration to do for that topic.

I, like many Youtubers, know this endless exploration as the “Google deep dive.” It’s where once you start on a link, your travel through the web and forget time.

Sounds like effort to click on links and read/watch but it really isn’t!

Haven’t you ever been on Youtube and clicked an AntsCanada video to see “Fire ants against snake” and suddenly, you’ve realised that you’ve watched ten videos about ants? Maybe not on ants, but I’m sure that we’ve all done some diving into the web at some point.

As long as you have a subject of what you want to learn (in this case for me is code), I can begin my journey from anywhere. That’s the magical thing about learning in life. There is no right or wrong about where you go with your learning and what you learn (unless it’s unethical or harmful).

No one’s going to catch you out, no one is going to judge you for it. As long as are learning, you feel happy and know what your learning is necessary or that you want, all is cool.

I will always remember how an old ex-boyfriend of mine explained learning to me really well. In High School, when we learn science, it’s simplified for us to grasp the theories. In University, some of those simplified concepts are stripped and you are re-learning how something actually works. Push that further, and you’ll be uncovering more truths and grit of how that part of what your learning really is.

Think of learning like the core of the Earth. We first think of a subject, then dive deeper, then uncover more about what we learn till we hit the core of what it’s all about. However, to go from the surface to the core isn’t as simple or easy. It probably takes a great amount of time and we can get distracted to explore other things that are on the surface or mantle, that pushes us away from the core.

And that’s okay! Whether we go the core of things or feel good about just exploring on the surface, what matters is that we are aware of this, in control of where we are going and thus, what we are exploring to learn.

My way for a Retro:

Given that I am learning about code, I animate, guess what I am always on? That’s right, A computer and sometimes, consistently working on is painful. You come to a point where you feel you’re eyes are melting in your sockets and it’s painful to even look outside at the furtherest point from your window. (Good training for your eyes)

Although I learnt to be able to type whilst not looking at the computer to rest my eyes, I find int a struggle to not be able to give my eyes a break and who can these days? We are always on our phones, laptops, listening to music, when do we ever give our senses a break?

It’s always so easy to rely on technology for all the things to do but sometimes, a pen, paper and a few highlighters is all we need.

You may not understand parts of my list, but what matters selfishly is that I do (which in this case means, if it’s your list, it’s as long as you get it).

Ie. When I say Design, I mean Design implemented with code, not doodles and pictures sadly.

I took about ten minutes to ponder about it before I wrote it. Reflecting on how I started to how far I have come does put me in perspective. Though, I find it vital to give yourself space to recuperate and think where you want to go next, especially every night. It may work for you early in the morning, but for me (because we’re basically introduced to something new every week and sometimes everyday), it is good to sit on what I’ve been exposed to and then make a map of where my learning will go.

I tell myself that I will have the habits to

  1. keep this book at home
  2. to write everyday

However, given everything that is going on and always changing, I’ll try this week and see how much I can keep up the consistency and neatness.

Many goals later…

No matter the habits or rules that’s been listed, if you didn’t any see the point in this post, all I want you to take from it is to ask yourself

“Are you in control of what you are learning?”

Sit and ponder about it. Go for a walk and come back.

If you’re not in control, that’s okay. I hope this post then, somehow switches a lightbulb to start somewhere as how these thoughts from the bootcamp did for me. Though, I do want to point out one last thing.

I mentioned my mind’s logic earlier was on jobs, but writing this post, it strangely occurred to me how I’m drained (from blogging, yes) yet still happy. It then immediately clicked in my head.

I’m happy because I’m slowly letting go my constraints on learning and finding my own pace of learning.

In our world where learning never ends, part of human happiness is to grow in our time and that’s by learning to do things we want to at our own pace. How can we even begin to grow these passions or our learning, when we aren’t even in control of where our learning is going?

And with that, I shall leave you with those questions to ponder about.

Fun fact of the day:

Fresh air does actually wake you up. Even if you are a person who likes to stay in the comfort of their warm home, your body needs to move in order to not feel so sluggish. Although your passions matter most, if your passions are animating, learning code or anything technology related, part of that passion means to get outside so you’re giving yourself a break.

Even better, try to integrate some parts of your passion that relates to being outside and being away from technology. Even if it’s for only ten minutes.

If you’ve not watched Kubo and the two strings, it is a amazing movie because of it’s process! Even the animators who made this movie, somehow integrate a form of movement and outdoors to their process! Maybe this will inspire you to do so because it proves that there is always a form of physical activity we all can implement in our lives.

Note: It doesn’t have to be work related (haha, but that depends on how much time you spend working which at a bootcamp is 70% of my life)