Just Travelin’ On

Thoughts from the middle of my front-end development class, written — but not quite polished — nine weeks ago:

I’d like to think there’s learning going on in some part of my brain, but by the end of the day I’m listening to Carly Rae Jepsen and making horrible jokes to which my similarly exhausted classmates respond with blank stares.

We just finished the fifth week of a twelve-week program to learn front-end web development, trying to build decent websites and make functional things happen when the user clicks on parts of the page.

Sounds simple. But building a pixel-perfect layout of this page would probably take me 48 straight hours, and if I ever hope to make a living doing this, I’d like to cut that down to something that’d allow me a livable wage.

Computer selfie ft. week two CSS/HTML mockup attempts.

Computer selfie ft. week two CSS/HTML mockup attempts.

I’ve consumed much more coffee than I’d like to admit to reach a few near-impossible goals, and nothing I’ve made looks like the assignment goal toward which I’m supposedly working.

All of this sounds negative, I’m aware, which is why it feels odd sometimes to realize how much I’d prefer this brand of absolute exhaustion to self-driven forays into Stack Overflow and other coding resources.

Comparing those learning strategies is like saying you’d rather jump into hiking the Pacific Coast Trail instead of reading the Yahoo Answers responses when you type in basic keywords about hiking.

I’ve tried the latter, and the former is definitely preferable, if stressful.

The best part is how self-directed all of this exhaustive learning is. I guess this is how being in class and treated like an adult at the same time works. We all value what we’ve given up our lives to do.

I could just as easily spend every night downtown and trade afternoon lectures for naps, but the lack of an actual choice there is obvious to everyone in the class.

What’s most interesting is how much active choice is involved, and that may not seem like it takes too much effort, but after being unable to solve a problem for hours on end and finding a command that does exactly what you’ve been trying to build, much of the learning process seems futile.

I’ll take a W at the end of this if I make it all the way through without wearing anything to class that I slept in the night before. So far, so good.