This morning, one of the other students said that she was looking back at the things we’d covered last week. For everything she found completely confusing then, she completely understands now, but she is struggling with the new stuff.
I think that’s how most of us feel. Every day, the instructors hand us one new tool to use, one new way of doing things better or faster, and they are met with blank stares and slack jaws. Two days later, we’re using those tools freely while struggling with something new that they’ve put in our hands.
We are also doing more pair work, where one person types and another person looks on and both people talk. For most of us, it seemed to be draining – not just because the exercise was designed to be something we couldn’t finish in the time given, but because we are also getting used to new ways of working and communicating with each other. We all are trying out different styles of work and different ideas of how programs should work, and we also have to communicate these differences to someone else who is either implementing their own ideas onto a computer screen or looking over our shoulders, telling us what they think we’re doing wrong. Nobody mentioned that we were supposed to be learning how to work with others as well; if we are able to get improved communication skills out of these sixteen weeks, that might be as valuable a skill as any other that we are intentionally taught.
Oh – and I’m studying more in the Royal Scots Club library, a beautiful room lined with 100+-year-old books and gleaming silver trophies from contests that had meaning when Victoria was queen. Today, half-way through review, bagpipes started playing. It was rather magical to have a study soundtrack of bagpipes in this setting while I struggled to put hashes into arrays.