Makers Week 1 Retro

I met a duck while taking a walk this evening.

So week 1 at Makers Academy has finished. Whew! In the bizarre time warp, I feel like I have learned 8 million new things, that the course has lasted several years, and that there are 800 million new things left to learn.

So here’s a recap of what I learned:

1. Rest is good! The few days left me absolutely knackered. My brain totally stopped functioning (force quit?) at 6pm and I fell asleep at 9:30pm. Pairing is intense! But I resisted the feeling that I should keep working until midnight and that was definitely a good call. By day three I felt I had gained stamina, and although my brain still was tired by 6, it was less tired. Today I think I might manage to do some work in the evening! And I also got up at 6:30 to take advantage of my morning productivity time.

2. Multi-tasking is not good. Chatting online to your friend while also trying to sync your local git with the remote means you get into mild trouble. I didn’t do anything I couldn’t fix pretty easily with the help of my cohort (thanks, Dan and Jon!) but I learned the lesson: focus on one task.

3. The remote course offers unique ways of socialising! Last night I had Zoom drinks with a few fellow coders (the max you can really do logistically is probably 4), which was great fun — I was tucked up in bed with a glass of rose and we all chatted and geeked out and had a great time, with no commute home after.

4. Meditating and Alexander technique are a fantastic combo. My routine for the week has been:
8:40–8:50 lying on my back with a book under my head (classic Alexander tech)
8:50–9:00 meditation with a pair partner

I’m breathing so well! Next week I’d like to incorporate another 20-minute chunk either at lunch or before bed.

5. Making breakfast and lunch (especially lunch) is a total waste of time. I ordered a shipment of Huel (complete nutrition shakes) which should arrive today, complete with a free shaker bottle and Tshirt (to be added to my Tshirt rota, of which more in a later post). Hopefully it’s not gross, and then my lunchtime can be put to better use (i.e. going for walks and/or meditating/Alex tech).

6. It’s good to go in-depth into a single topic rather than having a superficial knowledge of a lot of things. My pair and I spent most of yesterday working on Git/Github, running into all sorts of fancy problems. We used our time well — we got majorly stuck, but all of our research was logical and to the point and when we finally called for help, our coach assured us that we definitely should ask for help before doing a hard reset! So although I didn’t do much Ruby yesterday, I’m WAY more confident in my Git skills.

My Bloom’s Taxonomy Git skills are up from apply to analyze!

So my takeaway from this week? Learning one skill/concept thoroughly is much better than learning five superficially. Going slowly is ok. I’m never going to learn it all in 12 weeks anyway, so better to learn some things really well and experience the process of gaining mastery (of a sort!) with a topic.

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