Thankful, 2020

Chris Lee
Chris Lee
Nov 26, 2020 · 3 min read

If Launch School is my last job, I’d be happy to never put another entry on my resume ever again. I’ve never had a job that I enjoyed this much.

I was thinking of why I felt this way. There’s the impact we effect: life changing results, industry leading salaries, showing the world a more transparent and student-centric education model. I get that those results are worth the grind and may require all the grit I have to reach those ends.

But for the most part, that grind and grit hasn’t been part of my daily experience. Instead, the past 8 years has been mostly a steady joyful experience. Isn’t making a dent in the universe supposed to be full of walking through walls and failing fast?

Here’s why I think Launch School has been different for me: the type of people who come to Launch School inform the type of culture and community I wish to be a part of, even outside of Launch School.

It’s been an unanticipated side-effect of having a rigorous curriculum, but this side-effect is arguably the main attribute that keeps me going.

Culture

If you had asked me as an undergrad what my career ambitions were, I would’ve said either billionaire startup bro or college professor. The former’s allure is obvious to a naive undergrad, but the latter is perhaps unexpected. What drew me to the life of a professor was the focus on intellectual curiosity and an environment of learning and exploration. The freedom to read, collaborate, and learn whatever your heart desired seemed like an ideal job. (Then I learned about writing grants, departmental in-fighting, publish or perish, professor salaries and shelved that idea).

Fast forward 18 years and I almost feel like I have all the benefits without any of the cons. The culture at Launch School is one of intellectual depth and studiousness. There’s an air of wanting to do things well and understanding things thoroughly. There’s no “How do I get this React app working?” type of discussions. I’d probably quit after a few months of that.

Rather, it’s deep discussions about learning and programming. I learn something every day from these discussions and it’s been extremely rewarding.

Community

The other thing that keeps me coming back like a moth to a flame is the community at Launch School. The caliber of students at Launch School has always been very high — we have lots of students who are very accomplished in other fields, from professional musicians, to athletes, to PhDs.

When you combine this quality with a community that gives back, it makes for a very unique experience that I don’t think exists anywhere else. We have extremely high caliber peers willing to help, and working engineers hanging around in our chatrooms answering questions. It always blows my mind when someone gets their question answered by a working engineer at a top company in our chatroom. I don’t think you can get this anywhere else, not close.

Thankful

It’s been a crazy year, but I’m still thankful. I’m thankful for our peer-organized student group at The SPOT, for our alumni who continue to hang out and support Launch School, for those organizing city-specific meetups, for our hard-working staff, for the Launch School Women’s Group, for The Social Network group who’s organizing social events, and personally, for the chess group who keep me sharp with all those chess puzzles, and for everyone who helped make Launch School what it is today.

Here’s to another year!

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