My Juno Journey | Pt. 2
On September 9th, 2019, I entered Juno College for my first day of the Accelerated Web Development course. This was it, my first Juno course.
The first thing they asked me was to make a name tag and write down my pronouns. This took me aback. This might not mean a lot to many, but I have never before been asked for my pronouns, and so it really touched me. I had heard that they are inclusive, and it was one of the reasons I chose the school. It was incredible to read about how they make space for all types of people but seeing it and experiencing it was a whole other feeling. As my time with Juno went on, it was incredible to watch how committed they are to being inclusive. It is a very big deal to me and to this day it makes me so proud to be part of the community.
During my first week in Web Dev, I remember being so impressed with the course and the school as a whole. Having taken courses in university, and had the experience of typical post-secondary education to compare it to, it was astounding how well the course was structured; we had gone past what I was taught in 2 years of university within the first 3 days and I had infinitely more understanding of the concepts I thought I got. One thing that stood out to me was their focus on accessibility. I love how they integrated it into every topic of the course, explaining why certain practices are best to carry through our careers.
Looking back on that course, I definitely went into it naively; I thought it would be a breeze having come from a background in web. It was only after the first couple of days that I realized I did not know these concepts as much as I thought I did. I loved it. I loved learning knowing I had so much to learn. I loved learning better ways of doing things. And I loved gaining more understanding of concepts I thought I knew well. It showed me how much I had to go and I gained so much respect for Juno seeing how much they had to offer. The amount I learned in those two weeks, and the degree to which I understood it, was mind-blowing. I was ready for more.
After Web Dev, it was recommended for those that wanted to pursue the Bootcamp to apply immediately. I jumped on it fast. I knew this is what I wanted and after taking Web Dev I felt I was at a place to apply.
The first step is to apply online and submit an online application. The second step was to complete a tech test, a responsive PSD conversion. I worked really hard on it, and honestly had a lot of fun with it, finishing it in 4 days, refactoring and making it better before the week deadline. The third step was to complete the online interview. Here they pre-record questions, they give you a couple of minutes to think of an answer, and then you submit a video response. I remember doing the practice questions over and over again, locking my cats in my mom’s bedroom to prevent them from making a surprise appearance, trying to come up with the best process for answering. I think I did about 5 rounds of practice questions and I realized I was way too into my head; I finally decided to just go for it. It was hard, and recording myself was kind of weird, but I was proud of my answers. After that, people were then selected to come into the final stage, the in-person interview. I had to force myself not to check my email every 2 minutes. I think I legit screamed when the email came in a few days later. The final stage.
Usually, for interviews, I get incredibly nervous, but because it was Juno I was so excited. I was excited just to meet Tarra in person. I had no idea what to prepare and what type of questions they would ask which helped me not overthink it. As well, web dev is a topic I am so excited and passionate about that I was eager to talk about it in an interview.
I will be totally candid, that interview was hard. It was really nice to meet Tarra, and get the chance to talk to her; she made it really easy to be myself, which I am very grateful for but there were A LOT of questions. It was one of the most in-depth interviews I have had. I am very thankful for it, though. It was an amazing experience. And it was also incredible to see how intense the process is to get in. I wanted to fight for it. I didn’t want it to be easy. I walked out of that interview not knowing how I did, but I was proud of myself for doing it nonetheless.
I got the email within two weeks: I was accepted into the Winter 2020 Bootcamp. I made it. I couldn’t believe it. My dream had come true.
The first couple of days went pretty well. I was understanding the concepts, participating in class, and getting the exercises. That was until Friday when we started on our first project. I had a full-blown meltdown in the middle of class, and I couldn’t calm down. I felt so defeated. I understood the concepts, but when I had to do the project on my own I felt like an idiot. I had no idea where to start.
I can not explain how grateful I am for the main instructor, Joey. He helped me through and sat with me until I was able to keep working on it. It meant the world. A huge shoutout to Joey. You really helped me get through that day and overall course.
And with that, came the first day of Bootcamp. January 20th, 2020. It had finally come. The start of what I had been dreaming of for years now. So much was running through my head: was I ready? Could anyone be ready for such an experience truly? I knew it was a monumental moment. I would look back in a few years and know that this is where it all took a turn, as after Bootcamp we start looking for jobs.
The first day was so amazing; everything I dreamed it could be. I was so excited to be friends with everyone and to all grow to become devs. I was ready for the adventure.
This last week has been exhausting. And I definitely think that we are all feeling the Bootcamp burn out. This last project that we are working on now, the group project, has been a struggle: the scope is quite large and it feels with every 5 steps forward we take 10 back. But I am grateful for my team and for these experiences that will help me grow as a developer.
I am getting emotional y’all, but my experience through Bootcamp has been better than I could have imagined. The people here are absolutely incredible. Our group got incredibly close so quickly. Everyone is so beyond supportive and kind. I have made so many friends that I feel will be in my life for a long time. These people mean so much to me and it makes my heart swell thinking of my Cohort 25 fam. I am so proud of them. It is the best feeling to watch them grow week after week, project after project, to get to see what everyone is working on, and to see them every Monday.
And I am not just talking about my peers. One thing that makes Juno stand out and what I noticed my very first day of Web Dev was how incredible the teachers, mentors, and support staff are. They are themselves and create a space for us to be ourselves too, to add our own flair and to celebrate the things that make us different. I love how “real” they were with the class, how they joked with us, how honest, and how they taught us that our personalities are important. Everyone is so supportive. They will sit with you and dedicate their time and energy to ensure that you understand. They are so patient and hard working. They make even the hardest days fun. It has been incredibly inspiring. A huge shout out to Alex, Katie, Esther, Joey, Darshana, Austen, Sherry, Colin, Chi-Chi, Safi, Charlotte, Olga, Suzette, Talia, Shang, Joanna and all those I have come across in my time at Juno. You have no idea how you being yourselves has impacted my life. Thank you for all that you do.
A few weeks ago, I had the honour of having lunch with Juno’s CEO Heather (another dream of mine I do not know how I managed to breath), and I explained how I had been dreaming about Bootcamp for years. That it has been on my vision board since 2017. She seemed surprised. Not many people have expressed that it has been a kind of dream for them, that they have been planning it for years. I wish I could tell her how much this whole experience meant to me. And I hope I was able to explain it in these blog posts. How honoured I am to have been accepted into the Bootcamp, to be a part of this community. I hope to be a part of the Juno community as long as they will have me.
Going into the last couple weeks of Bootcamp, it feels surreal. I still can’t fully believe that I got in. In many ways, it feels like something is ending and in another way, it feels like many things are just getting started. Thank you to everyone for making this journey so special. Sure there have been many bumps (React amiright?) but overall I wouldn’t change it. I do believe things happen for a reason and I am so honoured to be in Cohort 25 #gitfucked 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼