Climbing the Mountain
Imagine someone told you they were going to test your ability to go over things. They would give you progressively larger objects and tell you to go over them. Maybe they’d start with a rock and tell you go over it, then a larger rock. They could move on to a table to see if you can go over that, then something a little higher, and so on. You could jump, crawl, climb, fly, really anything you needed. The whole point would be that you get to the other side without going round the object. Or through it.
Bootcamp has been like that for me, so far, with one little caveat. Okay, maybe not not little. In the spirit of staying true to my analogy, it’s more like an 8,848 metre tall caveat. You see, when I first went for an interview at the Andela offices, I was given a test to do. They were a few questions on Python and how to do stuff with it; how to generate a list, random numbers, etc. It was a nice little table that I could comfortably jump over. All I had to do was muster enough energy at the beginning, bend my knees close enough on the way over, and land firmly on my feet on the other side.
The guys at Andela clapped when I was done with the jump. They said “Ramsey, you have demonstrated a great ability to go over stuff. Congratulations!” I smiled and thanked them. I was ready for the larger table, the hillock, maybe even the 2 SUVs standing side-by-side. Heck, I would have been willing to get climbing gear and do a little rock-climbing for my next challenge. But no, they had more ambitious plans for me. “Ramsey, we were so happy to see you jump over that table, we can’t wait to see you cliimb Mt. Everest!” I would have smiled nervously, if my jaw wasn’t on the floor.
And that’s how Bootcamp began. From splicing lists to developing an entire app and deploying it on Heroku. I have discovered things about myself this week that may have remained hidden if Bootcamp never happened. I got to realise just how deep my passion runs for computers. I knew I wanted to become a programmer, but I guess being confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles and still remaining interested confirmed that for me. I also realised that everything I’ve been doing for the past 2 months since I started learning programming was the microscopic tip of the astronomically large iceberg that is the world of software development.
Climbing Mt. Everest is one thing; being asked to do it in a very short time puts a new twist to it. With deadlines constantly looking over my shoulder, having to learn and do at the same time can be quite a challenge. And yet, looking back at how far I’ve come in the space of 3 days gives me a certain assurance. Nothing worthwhile ever looks possible at the start. The odds are against you and you can easily find 2 more problems for every solution you think up. And yet, I can’t help but think of Elon Musk’s quote every time I’m in such situations. “If something is important enough, even if the odds are against you, you should still do it.”
There’s always an incentive to give up. To give Mt. Everest the finger and simply walk away. And even if you do make an attempt, there’s a huge chance you’ll fail. So you might be wondering, “Why do it then?” Well, what’s the alternative? If it’s important enough, why NOT do it? Which makes more sense, to keep aiming at your goals or to get new goals? For me, the former has always been the more sensible route. The minute I let go of my goals the stink of failure will not allow me to live a peaceful life.
So here I am, back hunched, face masked, gear in tow. The peak looks like a distant dream at the moment. I might never even reach it in the space of one lifetime. But you know what? I’ll keep going. Because it’s important enough.