Episode 51: An overdue tribute & thanks to people who made my experience at Makers
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Episode 51: An overdue tribute & thanks to people who made my experience at Makers Academy.

by Dania MahFebruary 9th, 2018
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I was meant to write this post <strong>VERY</strong> long ago&nbsp;, for the day 23 other people and I graduated from Makers Academy. However, every time I kept writing, I always started from scratch again. It was to the point where I had ten drafts and had forgotten where I stopped.

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I was meant to write this post VERY long ago , for the day 23 other people and I graduated from Makers Academy. However, every time I kept writing, I always started from scratch again. It was to the point where I had ten drafts and had forgotten where I stopped.

One of the reasons it was hard was because it got very emotional for me, to sum up such equivalent tributes for each person from my experience. However, I came to the conclusion that it was because I was rushing and things such as emotions cannot be rushed.

Yet I sit here, having written this post for five weeks now…. You’re probably thinking….

“why keep hitting the same wall?”

Well, it’s because this post needs to be made.

Often, I feel like we forget to thank even the people who made that tiny change in our experience, to be a fuller one. We also forget that even though the Makers journey is about congratulating ourselves, giving ourselves a pat on the back that we forget to tribute our team-mates, our peers are the people who helped us get through the journey. I know I didn’t get through it alone, or at least didn’t get through it happy on my own.

My experience at Makers leading towards the final day did not only make me a coder. It made me a vastly better individual and it would have not been as life-changing, as full-filling or as enjoyable without meeting these people I’ve got to know. I would not be able to feel as enriched and closer to the potential of feeling mature without them. Plus anyway, I believe the best way to learn about things is through experience and a pivotal source of making those experiences are the people we cross paths with.

Some say this a memoir.

Others may say it’s similar to an Oscar award ceremony.

Others may say it’s a just a mark of an event to remember.

Whilst this is all true, it’s an applause for them at the end of the day as these people should be recognised. Each of them bring such a different skill-set, such a dynamic character and great wisdom to the table. Whether they have gotten jobs or still in the process of getting jobs, I believe they will do great things in the future.

For those who are reading and thinking about going to Makers Academy,

[ I’m sad to say every experience might not be the experience like mine. However, I generally think it has been built as a ‘life-changing’ experience considering it’s meant to change your career paths in becoming developers. I suppose this post is just to show how enriching and exciting your experience could be (It will be to an extent, no doubt)

Yes, obviously this post was meant for the final day at Makers Academy so if you have any questions about it, comment below. If not, check out this link below for our presentations, of what half the day was like]]

With that said, this post is also a major appreciation for those people who join us in our journeys for a moment of time. We may skim over them but really, this post will show how we should pay attention and cherish the gifts people bring to make us, individually better.

For those who are included and are reading (hello), you all have a place in my heart for changing my life joyfully. I may come across you again or I may never do, but this post will always be here as a reminder of when we crossed paths. Thank you for being part of the making of who I am.

First, to my team (of course):

When we looked good, and when we felt like potatoes

Till today, I am lost for words to how we all ended up together as a team, how far we all have come and how much we achieved in two weeks. It is a blessing in disguise that I got team-members who I knew very early on in the course, one even before the course started. Before your encores, I want to say thank you for dealing with a 23 year old graduate when she was stressed, tired and losing her senses. I wish you all greatly appreciated the hike we went on together and the baby that is our program as I do.

Even though we tirelessly pushed through, we “smashed it” pretty well.

Eva, Lewis & Tom ♡

Dear Eva,

I’ve never come across such a motivator like yourself. You remain incredibly fun no matter the amount of difficulty you have to push through, with or without drinks. Although you have had your struggles, I only saw someone who was driven to conquer them and grow stronger after every one of them. I believe you greatly underestimate your determination but with your optimism of getting yourself on your two feet, you will conquer any language in any job.

Let’s also not forget on top of this you had my back very early on in the course! Whether it was helping me into my next Airbnb or being an open friend to talk to, you were one of the very few who gave me your time to lend a hand in my times of need. As much as I thank you for all those memories and hope to have more soon, I thank you more for countlessly proving to me that optimism will always out-beat any disastrous struggle.

Dear Lewis Youl,

You were the first person I had paired with at Makers in person and the person who I worked with in most group projects. Although you emit a “crisis-like” energy when you struggle, it’s understandable because you hustle hard when you know where you’re going. You are always the first one to pop up on my Github, to have fully fledged out challenges. What surprised me the most, though was how you turned out to be one of my warmest friends.

You may came across as a serious 28, 29 year old biologist who asked me whether I still watched tv. Yet in times where you joked about how I took the last banana every time, how I was your tiny friend or my clothes were for teddy bears, I knew you were a great friend, especially right after you aided me through my panic attack by telling me “everything was okay (and wise Lewis, you were right)”. You are a very memorable ‘froggy friend’ and I hope we’ll stay in touch till the day you come visit Malaysia. Thank you for teaching me that all it takes to have and enjoy friendships is to leave them and let them grow.

Dear Tom,

Funny how, you were the first person I paired with ever (online). I remember how starstruck I was by how quick and intelligent you were the first time we paired. It gave me the shivers to think everyone was going to be like you. However, the more I got to know you, you had a combo of surprises. From your commitment to code, to how far you commute, to your age and to your “chiselled face (that’s a compliment!), but the biggest surprise was how you remained calm and your happy humming self in times when you were stressed or I was stressed, every time.

Moments when you hummed songs, said hello to pigeons, attempted the ping-pong Makers shot and laughing with me when my computer decided to shut down when I entered “rack up” on the terminal. Although you claim you are shy, I’ve somehow stepped back and thus, become more aware of all these quirks that has always made my journey with you, a joyful one. In fact, it was too much for me that I choked on water that one time we when for coffee.I only hope I can continue to be a part of this laughing train but if I can’t, thank you for teaching me to step back and listen more to what’s around me as there’s always something more we can appreciate.

Dear Marco Vanali,

I think it’s very rare to meet someone who you immediately connect with. It’s even more rare when we both come from two different worlds and where we are very stubborn with our beliefs. From our competitive natures, to our love in hip-hop, to our heart content’s of memes or to our similar deep struggles, all these coincidences were very strange for me. Although, I felt I was looking in a mirror a lot of the time and it probably was the reason why we both are great at helping each other out through our struggles.

You may think you are never enough but I’ve always believed you bring a unique skill-set to the table. Although you may not be like this all of the time, you offer such compassion, determination and humour. You evoke it in such a manner, that it brings a strong energy for people to be driven for a goal or a project . Whilst you lift up the energy around you, you as well lift up yourself to chase your dream and when that happens, it looks like nothing will get in your way. I only hope you see that there’s more to the qualities you have and only wish you continue for you to be your crazy, happy humorous self.

Thank you for being with me on a journey to really learn how to live and savour the present, as if it was a blissful gift every time we succeeded.

Marco, Marie, Me and Theo servvvinngg faceeeee

Dear Theo,

Otherwise to the most logical person on Earth, haha hate me. Theo, what I love about our friendship is that we come from two very different ends of spectrums. Logical and Creative, Sarcasm and Flattery, Cynical and Gullible, I could go on. Thus, for a creative, you came across as a ‘super-computer’ who was always ten steps ahead when it came to coding or dealing with any problem. No wonder you were also known as another ‘code royalty.’ But like great royalties, you remained patient with those around you, arrived in times of their struggles and always went out of your way, to get ‘tea’ for everyone.

Out of the lot, I admit I enjoy our friendship the most. We’ll always surprise each other with something new every time whether it is playing the ‘sarcasm game’ or learning how to draw insects. I believe you got me to closer to seeming ‘mischievous’ whilst I got you into collecting stickers to the point where you smirked at how one of them looked like a vagina. It may have been a surprise to me back then of how close we got, but in fact you logically showed me it made sense. For someone who never thought she had any logic in her, thank you for showing me I had some and simply for being my first very opposite and most dearest friend.

Dear Marie,

If there was anyone in the course I could relate to, it was you. As the course was driving me insane at some points, I almost thought we were the same person. Strong minded, insanely competitive, smart yet silly at the same time, incredibly kind and a great multitasker. Whether it is a coding problem or getting to a number of steps on an app, you are someone who refuses to give up at anything. I thought I was relentless but you were on another level writing your Master’s dissertation on top of the course.

I can’t say I knew you all too well, but in the moments we talked, I really connected with you from the most random things. We may have had casual beef and may have had slight friction, but you taught me that two very similar people can be great friends at the end of the day, and sometimes it’s ourselves that get in the way. Thank you for being patient, for being kind and for still offering our drinks at a bar that I hope will happen in future.

Dear Da…Jamie,

The one unbelievable quality about you is how everyone knows you and says good things about you. You do it so effortlessly yet it was to the extent of strangers that I was meeting for the first time, would know you. Although I say its unbelievable, people who know you will understand as your character radiates and overfills with the passion to code. From the glasses to protect your eyes to your code slogan shirts you wear, it impresses me that you get so many to remember you not base on your smarts, or your skills but base of your compassion, your drive and your kindness.

Also, for someone who subconsciously portrays himself as a ‘dad’, you are probably the most immature and jokey one out of the bunch. But hey, that just adds to the greater dad that you are and to our surprise, I believe you actually managed to bestow some wisdom. Thank you for being my parallel universe dad and for reminding me that a dream is sometimes achieved through the support of a community. We should help each other achieve our dreams actually.

To Gabby,

I never got to know you well but every time I spoke to you, it was a joy. Whether you were talking about something light, something serious, or a crisis, you made it sound as if you could laugh no matter what waves you were riding. Of course, you will remain a pivotal person to me given we both worked together and succeeded one of our job interviews. It was your tough grit and our aggressive drive that pushed us to get where we wanted to go.

If I could, I would get to know you better in the future and I simply thank you for teaching me you can make any conversation no matter the topic, a pleasant one.

To Yolanda,

I say this gritting my teeth, as I didn’t get to know you either. However, I just knew without you saying a word that you were going to be the sweetest out of the lot. Although for someone who is very sweet, you have the strongest steel under all those sprinkles. You were never pushed off your two feet no matter what group dynamic you were interacting with.

Though what surprised me the most, was that you looked out for me when you gave me that stress colouring book when I was in a stressful state (get it). When I have some colour pencils, I will be using this book to forget my stresses (as I always stress about work) and I thank you for looking out for someone who didn’t do the same. Who knows, maybe one day, I’ll repay you back for those times as you motivated me to be there for the community of people in need, even though they may be strangers to me.

To Suz,

Out of everyone, you probably inspire most to be confident and unafraid of seeking knowledge. Whether it was you constantly asking questions that we all wanted to ask to get clarification or simply you entering the room, I commend you for having such qualities. Although I thought you were a super being from another planet given at times I had no idea of any answers to your questions, let alone the questions itself, you surprised me how down to earth you were when you checked on me.

I never got to know you well enough either, but I know I took some lessons to one day be as confident, to be as unafraid and to keep satisfying my curiosity of learning no matter how intimidating the obstacles may be.

Team Airbnb (Rob, Lewis and Oleg)

To Rob [On the Left],

You were the one out of the lot who simply baffled me. You come across mad intelligent although you say you are dyslexic. You come across so trustworthy when in fact, you were known as “Sneaky Rob” at ping-pong. I always looked at you thinking whether these two sides were the same person, and in fact they were as they were known as the sweetest and calmest people I could go to. You were always helpful no matter what the case was and it was always a fun time with you no matter if it was playing a game of ping-pong or drawing out client/server diagrams as if it was animals going through immigration.

Although I’m leaving soon, I hope one day I’ll be back so I can visit your cat and of course (and I really mean it), you. Thank you for inspiring me to make greater moments with the people around me one day, as that is a record you do effortlessly.

To Antonio Belmar da Costa,

I will always respect or admire how experienced, wise and ambitious you continue to be. In fact, it to some extent remained a reason of why I pushed myself harder in the course. You marked the level of ambition I should aim for. However, what I admire more is how you balance your ambition and balance being compassionate for as many people as you wanted to be compassionate to. No wonder you can look like you have a lot of thoughts going on.

Despite the times we clashed, it was a very eye-opening experience for me to get to know you. It sounds weird but I saw a lot of your qualities I could relate to. Except, I saw your years of experience balancing your qualities to achieve what you strived for. You taught me the most about balance and ambition, and how you need counter weights to balance the hard hustling times. I can only thank you for passing on those lessons and only wish that I will get to have fun with you more, considering how we danced on Maker’s last night.

To Pete,

In my eyes, you were “perfection.” It sounds like an awkward/big statement but what I mean is that you were always on it. Whether it was the code, your knowledge on industry, the balance of going to events, having the perfect code meme, organising social events for the cohort or geeking out. You were balancing all of that on a golden plate, with one hand (you wish a finger). You were on the level of Suz, where I thought you were this super being who I thought “I’ve met a future species of super-humans that comes from 2050.”

Yet it only took a moment to break that stigma I had of you, and to break the many stigmas I had about perfection. We never got to know each much either, but I always felt such warmth when you gave a hug when was needed or even a simple “hello.” I’m glad you did not remain a mystery to me and grateful you taught me that no matter how perfect we see people or things to be, perfection is a fallacy.

To Allan,

We never spent enough time for me to know you well enough. Though you were actually the first ‘Maker’ I met and remembered easily. In fact, I will probably remember you majority of my life because of how humble you are. Although you were known as ‘ code royalty’ and greatly-experienced in the craft of code, you are a great example of how we should remain humble no matter how highly intelligent we believe we are or how great other people say we are It was coincidentally funny how one had said you reminded them of their siblings and then I said the same, but that was a great lesson for me to have picked up. You taught me that I could get along with personalities I thought I couldn’t, and to not have any stigmas against anyone.

To Andy,

I could say the same to you as I do for Allan where I didn’t know you much. Though, I would say the special thing about you was that I never felt overwhelmed or I was being overwhelming when I paired with you (I think). You make every pairing feel like an equal team, and like any team, a team should aim to laugh together no matter whether they succeed or struggle. When I look back at the times we struggled, I laugh at how both of us were so shell shock when it came to things like testing and Heroku.

Thank you for always laughing at our dilemmas together and showing me that at the end of the day, we all are suffering from the same things, no matter how big or small they seem to us.

Dancing the Merengue with Cristhian, Jamie and Marie

To Cristhian,

I have to say, our friendship was strange. We had our moments, we had our distant “hellos” and if I tried to explain why, I wouldn’t know how to explain it. Yet every time, you always gave a helping hand and always wanted to gather people to be part of something. Although I noticed how your openness and kindness were never appreciated as much as it should be, I admit I played a part in it.

For that, I will apologise because you showed me it’s rare to come across people who will go out of their way to help and be there. With that said, I thank you for showing me a different light on those who lend a hand and thank you for teaching me your culture of dancing the merengue.

To Ignacio,

Apart from the fact that you were a good coder, you are just one of those people everyone loves at least from what I observed. I don’t know whether it’s your name in addition to where you come from (parents chose a good name) but the best thing about it, is that you didn’t do much to get people to like you. All I saw was you being yourself and saw the crowd of stressful over thinkers at Makers sway to receive your calm, peaceful aura.

I really wished I got to know you more as perhaps you could teach me some of your magic up your sleeves. However, thank you for teaching me that sometimes the only magic you’ve got is simply being yourself, and that the best magic is when you figure that out.

Jamie, Joe, Yolanda, Oleg, Cristian and Tabish

To Tabish,

I thought I was competitive & driven, I thought my family from were highly competitive & driven but yours was just on another level. Your drive was on another level that I felt myself dodging a really buff rugby player every time. However, whether I was playing ping-pong against you or coding with you, I felt you training me to stand there. You helped build my resilience, my persistent to solving problems, thicken my skin and charged up my drive to two gears since Makers. I thank you for the mentioned gifts you have passed on to me and also the realisation that buff rugby players are nice after all.

To Makers Academy Coach Mark,

Throughout my time at Makers, you were the coach I felt I could go to. I was never intimidated, I was never scared, I was never afraid to ask when it came to ask for your help. You always emoted a warm aura to give a helping hand, and I always thought of you as this giant friendly bear. Without your help, I don’t think I would have passed half the errors I encountered and picked up on how to solve those errors along the way.

Plus, it was always a great pleasure to talk to you, or play a game of ping-pong in times of calmness and intensity. I thank you for being the most approachable coach at Makers. You made a safe environment where it didn’t feel dumb to ask for help and showed me how valuable it is to ask.

To Makers Academy Coach Kay,

I wished I would have not been so intimidated to engage or have conversations with you outside from code whilst I was at Makers. Although I’m not going to lie, I sat in your classes either wanting to give you an Oscar applaud for slaying those debugging tests or either feeling my training was being tested by a shifu, as I was answering the questions you asked me about the questions I had asked you (what).

Nonetheless, you are one of the coaches I learnt from most and who glued a lot of concepts in my mind. I thank you greatly for your magical ways of teaching but also thank you for being such a unique human being to know. For someone who emotes the feeling of encountering a ninja in a sheet of tall grass, you have the most random and humorous things to say on your Twitter. I wish for anyone who meets you to get to see that side of you, as it’s just great.

Finally, To Makers Academy Joy Officer, Dana,

It’s either that you have been doing your job for a very long time or that you were meant for the role that you are now. I can’t explain the kind secrets to your advising ways yet at the same time, letting the individual decide on what is right for them. As the Joy Officer at Makers, it makes perfect sense for an intense coding bootcamp to have a person we can share and figure thoughts out. In fact, you are what many environments should have as its important for ‘time-limited’ environments or ‘intense’ environments that are explorative, to have someone to show us how we can put ourselves on our two feet again.

You played such a pivotal role in shining spotlights in aspects of my life I was afraid to look at and start working on. You honestly change lives drastically everyday, and perhaps that is your job but not many people can do that so well. For that I commend you for providing such an incredible experience every time I got the chance to speak with you. Thank you for helping me untie the knots in my life, for guiding me on techniques I could use to work out my life and thank you for playing a part in maturing me in the span of 3 months compared when I never did at 4 years at uni.

On that note, thank you the rest of October 17 for making the experience an unbelievable one. May the applaud continue for a life time.

Fun fact of the day:

Fate is a belief that you either think is crazy or the truth. However, after listing all the lessons I learnt and reflecting on my connections of where they came from, it really made sense to me that all these incredible people came into my life for a reason. Every person who I bumped into along my journey had a gift to offer whether through a good or bad experience.

Perhaps fate may still remain a cloud in your mind, but I would definitely say taking the time (whether it’s through meditation, through writing or a prayer), even it was for five minutes to reflect every day. It opened my eyes to connect the dots. Given what I’ve just written, it’s only fair for me to end this post to say — maybe try it for a few days.