TIY Blog: Day One

My name is Chris Aanerud. I am feeling nervous, excited, terrified, and motivated. Adding caffeine to the mix makes me feel like a two-liter bottle of soda that someone has been shaking for the last few months, but I am soldiering on.

I have a BA in English from the University of Georgia. I was originally in the Journalism program, but I eventually settled on English because I enjoyed creative writing and I loved reading books and short stories and learning about authors whose works could withstand the test of time.

After college I was torn between two choices. On one hand, I loved video games and I wanted to learn how to make them. On the other hand, I loved writing and I wanted to see if I could earn a living writing scripts or movie reviews or alien erotic fiction. Sadly, there was a third hand that demanded money for things like rent and food, so I got a part-time job in retail in order to pay the bills.

Retail led to more retail, which led to retail management. I got a part-time gig writing restaurant reviews for the Orlando Sentinel, and while I enjoyed my time exploring Orlando and flexing my creative writing muscle, I was determined to focus on my career and my personal life. So I stuck with retail, and I (mostly) paid the bills.

After getting married, I moved to the Raleigh area in 2007. A few more years of retail followed without much to show for it, and I grew weary of working dismal retail hours, so I got a desk job. That’s where I’ve been for the last 7 years. Somewhere in the middle of all that came a wonderful son and a soul-draining divorce, which culminated in a decision to make a positive change in my life. With little room to move up or advance my career, I decided to leap out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to chart a new career path. This led me to the Iron Yard.

My goal for this class is to put in the work needed to excel and finish 100% of the coursework. I am excited to be using my brain after many years of neglect, and challenging myself to learn how to code is going to be my driving force for the foreseeable future. I hope this class can be a jumping-off point to a new and satisfying career with a company that values their employees and treats them with respect.

I don’t expect the next few months to be easy. This is a big change that is going to require hours of hard work and innumerable pots of coffee. I fully plan on powering through even when things get tough, and I’m sure there will be days when I will be overwhelmed and want to give up. But I can’t, because I have a son to raise and I owe it to myself (and him) to have a career that I can be proud of. I took a pretty big risk in quitting my job to pursue a new path, and every time things get hard I will have to stay positive and remember that no great task has been accomplished without a few stumbles along the way. I will learn from my mistakes and grow stronger through the effort that I will expend.

Sometimes I doubt myself, but I do have an uncanny ability to rise to the occasion when presented with a challenge. I will be a problem-solver, and I will identify the specific areas of coding in which I need to have a laser focus and overcome all obstacles with a mixture of grit and determination. And coffee. Don’t forget the coffee.

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