Coming to Grips with Lack of Knowledge While Learning

I know it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve last written. I don’t really have an excuse for that. I have a couple drafts to follow up on some thing I’ve written in previous posts, but I haven’t had a ton of time to expand on the thoughts in those posts. I promise, there will be follow up.

In module 2, we’ve only had 1 submitted/evaluated project. There have been a good chunk of assignments that are in the vein of “you don’t have to do this, but it will hurt if you on later projects if you dont.” You know those kind of assignments.

Anyway. I’ve had a bit more free time in this module. I’ve been able to sleep more, spend more time with my wife and pups. I’ve also been pairing with module 1 students whenever possible, which is the motivation for this post.

Taking a step back for those who may have stumbled to this post on accident or by random Google search looking for information regarding Alan Turing’s approach at emotional support or something more closely related: The Turing School’s approach to education is something I’ve never encountered in my numerous years of being a student. I’ll try to summarize it here, but there are so many nuances to the system that it will only make complete sense when you enroll as a student here.

It’s a departure from traditional education in the sense that the approach is less of “here’s a bunch of information, and now here’s homework or a project that allows you to apply what you’ve learned” and more of “here’s a ton of information in a short amount of time and now here’s a project where you’ve only learned about half of what you need to know to be successful”. The difference is that when you are placed in a cohort with 22ish other people going through the same struggle, you find ways through it. Well, majority of people find ways through it. I feel like there are a couple different reasons for this approach, none of which I have confirmed with the school itself, but am taking it upon myself as a student roughly about 36% through the program as truth. 1) This gets you a little bit closer to working in the real world. I think our lives as devs in the future will require a lot of googling, not because we don’t know anything, but because we realize quickly that we know very little in comparison to the world of programming. 2) It drives the cohort closer together. This isn’t something you can do on your own, and the faster you realize that your’e not the first person to build a linked list or the enigma machine in ruby, the better off you’ll be learning to reach out to the people you’ve just met within the last several weeks.

To take a step forward from this idea, the best thing you can do for yourself before you get here is to get good at using your computer.

Bone up on your typing, and not just a regular typing test, but using typing.io. Typing.io is a typing test for programming languages. It makes a huge difference, I just tested my typing speed on typingtest.com vs. typing.io. My speed decreases from 83wpm to 54wpm.

Start using keyboard shortcuts for normal programs. Keyboard shortcuts take less time away from removing your hands from the keyboard and in turn less breaks in mental workflow.

The next best thing you can do if you’re coming to Turing, get comfortable with the idea of not knowing everything. I know it’s easy to say in theory, but when you’re in an educational setting and struggling to grasp a concept, sometimes you just have to trust that it’ll eventually get there. I always have to tell myself that I’m not the first person to go through this program, and I’m not the first person to question whether I fully understand how to pass information from one class to another.

This is a tough program.

When people ask how I feel about it, I tell them that I’m excited and I love what I’m doing even though I’m always tired. There’s a reason that people say this is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. It’s because you’re always uncomfortable with how much you don’t know and how little time you have to complete each project.

“Live on the edge of your comfort, then move forward from there.”

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Originally published at markmiranda.ninja on April 8, 2016.

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