Code Academy Week 3: Finding Inspiration Within

by Stella Fayman on April 30, 2012

Growing more comfortable with Ruby and the Rails framework, this week I found inspiration from two different places: a classmate….and within myself.

1) Emily- Last Sunday, I judged a hackathon at the University of Chicago. It was awesome to see the creativity and hard work generated from 30 hours of dedication.  About halfway in, a curious thing happened. One of the participants turned out to be a girl from my very own Code Academy class: Emily. While I was tracking my progress based on homework assignments and others’ expectations, Emily “looked for a reason to code for 30 hours straight.” She based her progress on her ability to create and build. It made me realize that while I’m so used to structured learning, and judging my progress based on everyone else, I should throw that out the window and learn as much as I can, on my own terms.

2) Within- Early last week, I was on about Chapter 4 of the Hartl Tutorial. I realized the most constructive thing to do when I hit a certain roadblock was to start from scratch. However, the first three chapters took me two weeks to accomplish! I sat there and pondered how long it would take me to catch up. It was a tough call because I really wanted to start fresh and look at the early material with my new acquired knowledge, but I also didn’t want to waste time trying to keep up.

I went ahead and started over. Very quickly, I became absolutely astonished as I recognized how much I had learned in such a short amount of time. The first damn chapter of that tutorial took me a week to do. With lots of roadblocks and issues. Now, I blew through it in HALF AN HOUR.


It was an inspiring feeling, akin to the feeling I had earlier this year when I learned to ski so quickly. Here, a skill that seemed so acutely obscure now felt like second nature. I really want to emphasize how euphoric this feeling was…a true breakthrough. It made me realize I can literally do/learn anything I want (and not in a cheesy way).

So many people ask me about my progress at Code Academy, and then admit how much they want to learn to code. What’s stopping them? I honestly think it’s fear of failure. To those people: if I can do it, so can you.

Join our newsletter and get everything Unpluggd!