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The First Week at Origin Code Academy: Be Excited, Try Not to Get Scared

By: Ben Sims

I walked into my first day at Origin Code Academy filled with excitement and fear. I was excited to pursue an education in a field I was passionate about, but I was fearful that it was going be too difficult to complete. This is my experience during the first week at Origin Code Academy.

Prework tips

Before starting my first week I was assigned pre-work that was recommended to be completed by the first day of school. I was super excited about starting this program so I was motivated to get it finished. The pre-work was Web100 which was a basic overview of HTML and CSS. I began working on it about a month or so before class which gave me plenty of time to get it done. The lecture notes and videos made me pick up the information fast. I was breezing through the exercises with ease, and I thought WOW I am really going to enjoy learning how to code. Then I thought for a second, maybe I shouldn’t finish the pre-work so far ahead of my first day because I might forget some the information. So, I made the decision to “purposely procrastinate” and finish it right before class. This ended up biting me because I got stuck on the last exercise on the last level of Web100—clearfix in HTML. I was working on this 

the Sunday before class, and I was getting frustrated. I had successfully made it through the entire Web100 with no blockers, but now I needed help. I figured okay, don’t stress, I can get help on the first day and then I will be done with the pre-work. This ended up being a mistake because while I was looking for help on the Slack channel for the clear fix problem, I found out Web100 was only one of THREE sections I had to complete (Web100, Node100, and Web101). Now I enter FULL PANIC mode. I’m going to have to show up on day 1 one and tell the instructors I only completed 1 of 3 assignments. I’ve gone through the traditional college system where this was a big problem. But, this is one thing I realized at Origin Code Academy very early on: it’s okay to go slower at your own pace to learn the information better. At my orientation on day 1, the lead instructor, Michael Roberts, told me something that has stuck with me all week: “Sometimes it’s better to go slow at the beginning because it will make you go faster later on.” This meant a lot to me because I felt like I had to rush through education to get to the job. But, what he told me resonated so well because it made me realize that if I rush through my education, I wouldn’t even be able to do the job. So, even though I didn’t complete pre-work before day 1, it was okay.

Help was everywhere  

After realizing I made the mistake of not knowing how much pre-work to do, it was time to get to work and get the stuff I missed done during my first week. I cannot begin to explain how much fun I had working on these assignments at Origin Code Academy. It is such a healthy learning environment that everybody there thrives on. From Tuesday – Friday I managed to finish Node100 and Web101 which consisted of JavaScript and jQuery. In 4 hard-working, dedicated days I managed to start to build my coding base. And every single time I ran into an exercise or topic that I didn’t understand, all my fellow students were more than happy to be there to help. This was something I never experienced going through the traditional college system. Everyone at universities was very self-centered and really didn’t have the time to help each other. This is not the case at Origin. Every student there has been through exactly what you’re going through and they don’t want you to struggle. There is a great sense of community at Origin that just wants everyone to be successful!

Momentum has started

Not only did I manage to grind out two complete sections during my first week at Origin Code Academy, I also was able to participate in multiple group activities. The group activities are really what makes the learning experience at Origin Code Academy GREAT. On Tuesday, there was a “Mob Programming” session where everyone in the class—no matter what part of the curriculum they are on—work together on a single project. I was unsure on whether or not I should go to this because I was an extreme beginner at coding, so I didn’t think I could do anything to help—if anything I would slow everyone down! But, I figured you know what I can at least be a fly on the wall and absorb as much information as possible. This was the BEST decision I made all week. The project we were working on was a Jukebox Web Application that we are actually going to use in class to play music. I learned so much from the students that were higher up in the curriculum, and I got the opportunity to “drive” which meant that I was doing that actual coding while they told me what to do. I picked up on so many tips and tricks to speed up my coding ability, and I was seeing so many things that are going to pop-up throughout the course. This is also another time I realized how helpful every single person is at Origin Code Academy. I felt comfortable asking questions of the other students and (the instructor that was helping us), and they were more than happy to take the time to explain it to me. I went to the Mob Programming session again on Wednesday and also participated in another group coding exercise on Thursday. Thursday’s exercise was how to use socket.io to create a web-based chat application. My two partners and I were able to get enough done in two hours to get our input box outputting chat. Never in a million years would I think in two hours I would be able to that, but Origin Code Academy made it happen with the learning culture they’ve created. The group projects build the helpful community at Origin Code Academy, and I was so excited to be part of it.

Here I come Week 2

All in all, my first week at Origin Code Academy went way better than I expected. I learned way more than possibly ever fathomed in one hard-working week. This is place breeds success as long as your willing to put in the time. It’s not difficult as long as you have a team supporting you, and that’s exactly what Origin Code Academy provides. I can’t wait for the next 11 weeks!