Do you give student discount?

Done, first assessment submitted and the reality of being a parent, having a full time occupation and juggling academic study is beginning to set in. I must admit though the last four weeks have been enjoyable, but have whizzed by.

Looking over our given assessment I couldn’t help but feel excited for a new coding challenge. I have never really used JavaScript before and I had enjoyed the lectures building up to the assignment, but typing code into a text editor just didn’t feel right.

*Geek Tech Speak Warning — I am about to get excited about IDE’s*

I set out looking for a nice lightweight environment I could use and remembered a colleague at Codify speaking about Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code (VS Code) in the same context. I contacted Mikko and we discussed how I could use visual studio code with a web browser to set up a nice lightweight environment. I also found this tutorial, which was very easy to follow and it only took about 10 minutes from starting with nothing to having a ‘Hello World’ header displayed in my browser.

Dark or Light theme?

The way in which the environment is set up, means that each time I make a change to my JavaScript file in VS Code, the browser refreshes and displays the product of the updated code, automatically.

This setup allowed me to work through the provided labs and to start thinking of a solution for the assessment. I decided quite early on to concentrate on the coding challenge and leave the 500 word reflective essay until last, a decision I later came to regret.

On 10th October, I went onto Campus at Garthdee to meet with Kerry from the Study Skills team. As part of our first module we were invited to arrange a session with Study Skills to discuss any areas we would like to improve. I asked Kerry to review my Cyber security essay so that I could apply the feedback not only to that essay, but also the reflective piece required for our latest assessment.

The session was brilliant and Kerry explained her feedback to me in a way that made sense and my fear of not being able to understand academic writing was laid to rest, for a little while longer.

As we neared November panic set in. I reviewed my code and added further comments, but realised I had totally over engineered my solution. During a collaborative blackboard session (think, lecture by video conferencing) Tiffany one of our tutors, further explained our assessment and emphasised we only had to keep it simple. This only added to my panic, what if I had done too much, what if I had made my solution so complicated it didn’t meet the requirements.

Thankfully our class tutor Mark, agreed to look over my code and told me although it was over engineered I was on the right track…Phew!

However with all of this time focused on my coding solution I had failed to make a start on the essay, which is when I began to think I may regret my initial decision of concentrating on the coding challenge.

In order to make the most of my remaining limited time, I decided I would go to RGU Campus and use the facilities there. Codify have allowed me time to do this away from my ‘normal’ work, which is a great help.

I grabbed a Costa coffee and sat with my laptop open with a blank white page staring back at me.

The dreaded blank page

I started to write bullet points to break down my journey through the assessment and realised the biggest challenge of the assessment had been created by me. My over engineering had caused more challenges than it solved, but at least I was confident of it meeting all of the requirements.

The assessment brief had limited us to 500 words, but before I knew it I had 700 + on my page. The next two days were spent refining and cutting out any redundant words.

Finally with one day to spare, the assessment was submitted. It was a great feeling knowing that I had submitted a solution to each requirement within the deadline with not too much panic or stress.

On Friday 17th November, I received a notification advising our results were available. Suddenly a hundred thoughts rushed through my head, what if I had failed, would my colleagues think less of me, would I be demoted, what about the course, would I be thrown off it, then I thought this could ruin my weekend and for a second I considered not looking at the result until Monday. Realising that there would be no way I could wait that long, I checked online and there was no result, nothing, blank, my head started racing again. A few minutes later it appeared, I had passed and I could enjoy my weekend.

My solution had been totally over engineered but covered all the necessary points. My reflective essay had documented the journey, challenges and solutions, I faced in my first assessment. The feedback was great and I will carry that into the next assessment to apply learning.

I am hopeful that my academic year continues in the same manner as it has been enjoyable so far and I remain excited for the challenge ahead.

If you have enjoyed reading my blog posts so far please give me a clap, or scroll right to the bottom and leave a comment and thank you for taking the time to read about my adventures.

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