Giving Back

I’ll make this quick…

 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to volunteer. I helped out at an elementary school in North Charleston with a bunch of 3rd – 5th graders that are learning to code. It was their first class and there are only 11 of them. They are using a program that MIT made called “scratch”. It is really cool and after only barely playing with it, I can see how it can help kids learn to think in a more logical manner when it comes to programming and life in general.

 

It felt really really good to be able to help out. To be able to help others at all. To be able, on the most basic level, to give back. Because, god knows, I have been lucky enough to get to where I am and it would not be that way if it were not for those important people in my life that have afforded me the chance to get to here. It is my turn to help, to give and to hopefully make the smallest difference in another persons life. I hope to have the opportunity to do it more.

 

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. ― Winston S. Churchill

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World Changing

I recently talked in a previous post about how I believe all my classmates would do something to better/change the world. Recently, some of us were taking advantage of half off burgers at one of the local eateries, when this was said (this is not verbatim) “ man, if for some reason i don’t succeed, it certainly will not be for the lack of trying or for the lack of effort. everyone is talking about leaving this class and changing the world. not me, I just would really like a front end job at a brewery and be able to drink beer and code.”

Now, I found this statement incredible. He said everyone wanted to change the world, but not him, like he didn’t think he could. But I wonder if he actually realized that he already was. He was going after what he wanted. He was trying to become what he wanted to be. To make a reality out of those words he so ineptly spoke moments before. If he continued to say things like that. And if he happened to share his story down the road, it very well could inspire someone to go for it. To take a chance, to take a risk, to follow their dreams and passions, to do better for themselves. Because that, right there, would be changing the world in my opinion. There are so few people that are willing to risk it, to chase their dreams, or do something others think they can’t. If we could only get more people to do the same thing, to give up the fucking complacency that they seem to hold near and dear, then the world would be changing for the better in my opinion.

What I truly envy are those that are changing the world. Those that are improving others lives. Those that are helping to help others change the world. And most of all, those that are changing the world without realizing they are even doing so, even if they think they might.

Take that comment and insert my current instructor, Nick. Dude is a beast at what he does(beast in the most awesome freaking way possible). He is teaching us ruby on rails. He is teaching us how to find answers. How to work through problems on our own. He is never leaving us hanging. But it is equally up to us to put forth the effort to find those answers, though at times it is incredibly trying. But he is enabling all of us to do things, that in my opinion, I never even thought I could do. He is helping us to become what we want to be. Giving us the tools to be successful, if we choose to be. He is providing us the opportunity to change the world. And that, is world changing.

Here’s to the crazy ones — the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. -Steve Jobs

 

 

What is The Iron Yard?

Man! i never know where to begin with these blog post… its so hard to write when I have a million thoughts in mi brain that all want to be ejected onto this one post alone. I apologize if at any time it gets hard to follow.

It is so hard when someone asks me “What is The Iron Yard?”. I could give the simple, easy answer… its a code school. But even that would generate blank stares from some. But really, what I want to say is this:

“It is a place that tests every ounce of will you have, it is a place that you don’t enter into unless you have the dedication and the drive and the passion. It is something that is not for the weak at heart. It is a place that completely destroys your current way of thinking and replaces it with an entirely different mindset. It is a place that teaches you the syntax, teaches you to think like an engineer and teaches you how to persevere among many other things.”

This place is freaking awesome! We come into it as person A and we leave as person B. It is not just somewhere that produces software engineers or coders or front end engineering guys/gals, or ruby developers, or iOS developers. But a place that produces awesome people. I will be a completely different person when I leave here. A different person for the better. It is not just teaching me to be a developer/programmer/engineer but to be a better person. I will approach life in such a different manner then I did when I walked through those doors on the first day. It is brilliant! My way of thinking has completely changed and we are still 2 months from graduation. I understand what it means to have drive, to do everything I can to find answers on my own (not that I don’t have badass instructors to show me those answers, but hey, you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach him to fish and feed him for life).

It may sound incredibly strange but I seriously feel privileged to be able to attend a school like this, to be taught/mentored by the people I currently am, and to form the relationships that I currently am. I have said it in past posts but I am part of a group of some incredibly intelligent and cool people. I’m lucky. I wrote a rails app this week that is essentially a giant rolodex for all Iron Yard students (so cleverly(sarcasm) dubbed “The Iron Book”). Because I really want to keep in touch and follow each and every one of my fellow schoolmates after we all leave here, cause I expect that they will all do crazy awesome things that will do better for the world.

Also, did I mention how pumped I am every day to wake up and get to class. It is such an incredible feeling loving the challenges you’re faced with, being stoked to wake up early to do something you love, and to do it along side people that are generally fucking good/cool/awesome/smart/creative individuals. I chose this life, I chose to give up everything to do this, to risk so many things (just like many many of my fellow schoolmates did). But you know what, you got to be willing to risk it all if you plan on making it anywhere worth while in life. I wouldn’t trade any of these challenges or hard times, or complicated/mind boggling classes for anything. This is the Iron Yard!!!!

 

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

— Robert F. Kennedy

Life Changing

Where to begin, oh where to begin? hmmm, heck if i know. I have never done a blog, not good at writing or being articulate and certainly do not think anyone cares to read this stuff. So i’ll just go for it. Let me explain how I knew life was about to take a major turn. It was a few days before class was slated to begin, the school was hosting an open house with founders and guests and classmates. It was a nice gathering filled with good conversation amongst everyone. Also, plenty of booze for everyone (as there seems to be at any tech event). Towards the end of the evening, John Saddington (john.do) broke everyones conversation to politely tell everyone to get the fuck out so the hosting party could get back to their own lives. But not before giving a speech, that unbeknownst to me, would stir quite a bit of emotion. I can not restate it verbatim, nor will I try. But he basically thanked us for letting them be a part of a life changing experience and it was not till this point, that I had taken the time , not only to think about that, but really let it sink in.

This moment was just that, a life changing moment. It brought up an immense amount of emotion within me. Excitement, fear, happiness, anxiety just to name a few. All of those raced through my body at once. It was like being hit by a mac truck, in the best way possible. I was embarking on a journey to better my life, a challenge to test my will, an adventure that would allow for me to be able to wake every morning and be absolutely stoked on what I will be calling work. It was overwhelming and satisfying all in the same moment. I had the courage to drop everything, to move across the country, to risk debt, to risk failure (though there is no way I would let myself fail) just to chase what I wanted to do. But it was not until that moment, that life changing moment, that I realized my life would be changing. Forever changed, for the better, I will be.

I am so incredibly excited for the rough times ahead, the lack of sleep and the roadblocks I will surely face. Because I know, that there are these badass, caring and awesome people leading/mentoring me. Not only that, but the entire cohort here, front end students and back end students, are fucking awesome! So glad to have such great people to face these challenges and changes with. And to end things off here on my first post (of many), I’ll use a quote from Maya Angelou that sir Saddington uses, because I believe he exemplifies it:

 

“people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”