What Did I Get Myself Into?

After 2 years of considering the idea of going to programming school in order to learn how to write code, I finally jumped in the deep end and decided to do it… and boy, is the deep end deeeeeeeeepppppp. So deep, that I was supposed to have written this post about 2 weeks ago but have been so busy that I have not really been able to.  So why am I starting this blog, anyway? Well, let me explain…

I was first introduced to the idea of becoming a programmer while I was in college quite some time ago, but for fear, I never really looked into it or gave it any real consideration. I shrugged it off because I did not want to be one of those kids who was constantly switching majors or starting things that they never finished. So I kept pressing on toward a meaningless business administration degree in order to stay on track for graduation. Oh yeah, that whole fear thing…

Fear has run my life for I don’t know how long now. Always thinking of the worse outcome and being paralyzed by every decision is a reoccurring theme in my life that I finally decided it was time to take a unified front against. I kept thinking about taking the risk and doing something different EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. to the point where I knew, that if I never tried I would always regret it. I knew I would never knock the ball out of the park if I had never gotten into the batter’s box and taken a swing. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and all those other cliché pictures that you often see in office settings kept attacking my thoughts, so I decided to put my indecision to death and do something about my fears: face them.

Now that I am, the fastballs are coming at me 100+ miles per hour. I am dealing with imposter syndrome somethin’ serious and I don’t feel it going away anytime soon. THIS IS PROBABLY THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER ATTEMPTED IN MY LIFE. I am using parts of my brain that have felt so dormant that I have to sweep the cobwebs off of them. My stress level has been so high, that I have been feeling the symptoms of what feels like vertigo the past couple of weeks. I have been feeling nauseous, with throbbing headaches, loss of sleep (averaging about 3-4 hours for several days at a time), extreme fatigue (even if I did manage to get sleep on certain nights, if I slept for 8 hours I would still feel drained), my eyes would hurt just looking at a screen; computer, iPhone, etc. Not to mention the worry about bills, how I would repay the loan I took out to finance this endeavor, personal relationships, family matters, etc. I felt as if I was constantly juggling and one gust of wind would just knock my whole thing down. It got so bad, my wife even booked a session for me at a spa to receive a Swedish massage and a jacuzzi treatment to help relax my nerves. It was so desperately needed. I had never been to a spa or received a massage. It felt unbelievably good. I felt like a new man.

All of that was to prepare me for my first week of bootcamp. And as I write this, on the eve of week 2, all I can say is this: It is extremely hard. Like, harder than my undergrad degree, hard. I see more gray hairs coming in like never before. I started having to drink a mixture of chamomile and valarian root tea just to help me fall asleep. I understand the phrase “it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant” more intimately than I ever have before. I don’t feel smart. I don’t feel able to do this. I constantly ask myself “what are you doin’?” and “why did you do this?”. I take in information so slowly that it is so hard to keep up with the pace of the class or the curriculum. I feel alone.

But, here’s what I won’t do: Quit. Give up. Throw in the towel. Tap out. Or whatever else my own mind wants to come up with that speaks to me every moment when I am trying to do anything hard, difficult, or uncomfortable. Something I heard on a podcast in recent months had been really helping me lately (paraphrased):

“The only thing stopping you from having what you want is the story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t have it. Tell yourself a different story.”

I signed up for bootcamp because it is the opportunity to change my life in 18 weeks. Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that? To challenge myself. To grow. To be able to have my future self surprise my current self. And that can only be done by doing one thing… as “Pop” from Luke Cage would say: “Always forward, never back.”

So welcome to my blog, aka online journal, aka online journey about the ups and many downs of my experience in a programming bootcamp. I don’t have any idea what I’m doin’, but I’m tryin’…