Brutal but I survived the 1st week of tech bootcamp and am loving it

They really don’t call it a bootcamp for nothing. This past week, I’ve survived on 3-4 hours of sleep a night, with stress and coding even intruding on those few hours of sleep.

I had my first introduction to the two-day coding ‘sprints’ — I’d call them 2-day coding marathons (see sleep amounts above) instead. My partner and I managed to hack (serious emphasis on the hack) out solutions for both the first and the second sprints on data structures, finishing at the 11th hour. Some teams not only finished but did the extra credit exercises and had time to spare. I was just damn happy that we got all the basic requirements completed!

Last night I slept like the dead for almost 9 hours straight. I still feel ‘punch-drunk.’ Today, I’m trying to figure out the things I’d figured out and going over the ‘best solutions’ — released last night — to our coding challenges. I’m budgeting 12 hours today to review and to re-tackle some of the challenges that I really had a problem wrapping my head around — hash tables oh dear, oh dear. Interspersed with that, I’m doing things around the house and yard (and the copious things needing to be done for the kitties). My plan is to get a full 6-hours of sleep tonight so that I can start the next marathon week at least somewhat refreshed.

I’m finding the whole experience to be whirlwind overwhelming. My stress level on any given day is mostly off the charts. I have moments of absolute despair, but am generally too busy just trying to figure out a) what the hell is this?, b) how the hell do I even start?, c) What the hell do I do next?, and d) why the hell isn’t this working?

Then come the serious highs of OHMYG-D, I can’t believe that just worked, we did it, we got it to pass the test!!!!!

Rinse and repeat.

It is overwhelming and stressful and it is seriously fun.

I feel very blessed to be in a cohort of really great folks. There are stand-out stars (I’m seriously not one of them, more like at the bottom of the pack and that is not a position I’m used to being in) but no one takes oneupmanship. Everyone is willing to help out those who are struggling to get this or understand that, if they’ve already figured it out themselves.

Our main teacher is so smart that it is scary. He’s also extremely approachable and humble and helpful. The fellows are awesome. So far, everything is hard and awesome.

I’m already stressing about the 8-hour mid-term coding exam/challenges that will take place in five weeks. It is one of two “make or break” points where you can get kicked out if you are not up to snuff. I’m definitely not up to snuff after just the first week…

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