Wanderlust Wendy

Le Wagon Week 5: It’s a Marathon

My very first half-marathon in Inner-Mongolia in 2016.

Saturday morning. I’m stealing some precious alone time at my favourite bakery before heading to Le Wagon for a full-day workshop on building WeChat Mini Programs. Since this is not standard part of Le Wagon curriculum, we are sacrificing two beautiful spring Saturdays. The things I do for this newfound “hobby”.

We are officially halfway through the camp, and this new “hobby” currently reminds me of every half-marathon I’ve ever raced. It always seem like a great idea when I sign up – the opportunity to train myself mentally, to better my physical wellbeing, etc. Yet, every. single. race. at the 10k mark, I ask myself why in the world I put myself through this torture.

Coding camp has been the same. This week was one of the most challenging weeks thus far. During lunch one day, a mini support group session organically formed. Turns out I was not the only person asking why the self-inflicted torture.

We began learning javascript this week – the thing that makes a website do cool things – like refreshing your Facebook Notification without refreshing the page. Yet, no one warned us this would be so tough. Just as we all thought we got through the difficult backend brain bit of web development, and was enjoying the fun design work of front-end, BAM comes a bunch of gibberish.

A guy from the lunch “support group” described learning javascript as, “it’s like they teach us Italian for two weeks, then throw in some Japanese, then said, okay, now learn  Spanish in 3 days, because it’s basically the same as Italian. You got this.” I resonated. It echoes my thinking that learning to codes is like learning a language, but more importantly, misery loves company, and I felt better that I’m not alone in this frustration.

This week, we also pitched for projects. At Le Wagon, we are all meant to put our learnings into a project during the last two weeks, and share what we build at a demo-day on the last day of the damp. The process is that everyone needs to come up with a project idea, prepare a two-minute pitch deck, and deliver the pitch. On an internal platform, we were given a chance to rank each pitch on the idea’s originality, feasibility, and our willingness to work on it. At the end, we rank all the projects in order of preference.

Then, since it’s a coding camp, some algorithm spit out the top projects and the members of each project. This whole thing is supposed to simulate real-world, but god I hope I never have to work on a project where I don’t at least get a Skype call with the client. Fortunately, I am very happy with my group, so perhaps the algorithm knows me well…

Since day one of the camp, all the mentors and alums warn us how frustrating project work would be. I don’t get the drama. Don’t we all have to work in teams in school and at work? It’s true that you can’t get along with everyone, but my ethos is and has always been, “no one is dying, it’s not that serious”, and move on. Curious to see whether this experience will be the same.

In any case, I hope as was with every race, I will also finish this camp with a sense of achievement. Along the way, I am working hard to keep my zen, and appreciate the journey. Keep calm, and code on. 

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