When I was a child, back when bean stocks pierced clouds and glass slippers were fanciful instead of impractical, I was a precocious reader.
I still recall limping into the reading specialist’s office. I had sprained my ankle playing capture the flag some time before so I had to hobble in on crutches. She told me, her voice smooth as a brook polished stone, that I would no longer be reading with my fourth grade classmates. I was to report to a sixth grade class for reading instead.
Proud of my intellect even then, I was so excited to read with the big kids… at first. The next day, when reading time came around I was escorted, still on my crutches, to a sixth grade classroom by the school’s beloved and friendly custodian.
When I stumbled in the door, the stares from the older children were hostile and cold, like the equipment laid out in a dentist’s office. I was placed at a table in the back, far from the older kids. I heard someone snicker. I blushed and wiggled my toes in my splint.
Then I saw the 6th grade reading book and the hostile children and distant teacher began to pixelate and fade. For some reason I was expecting to see the familiar fourth grade reading book. But this book was very different. It was thick with pages. And brown, brown like me. Its fresh cover glistened like gold. It creaked pleasantly when I opened it for the first time. I closed the magnificent book and read the cover: Dreams Go Far. They certainly do I thought in the classroom that day. I could not then nor can I now think of a better title for a children’s schoolbook.
Fast-forward twenty years. I experienced the same nervous feelings as I booted up my computer and navigated to the software boot camp’s homepage. Now that I have been officially accepted into the camp (more on that process in another post) my next step is to complete the Pre Work before class begins.
Once again I felt like a 10-year-old girl lurching into an alien world on crutches. I felt exposed and vulnerable. In this world, the world of megabytes and modems, I am not precocious. I will not be skipped ahead. I will have to fight to break even. But I am ready.
I took a deep breath and clicked the link. There was no lush bound book on the other end to greet me, but there was something else equally as welcoming. NUMBERS!
My first task: understanding binary and hexadecimal numbers. In short, I need to be comfortable taking regular numbers like 1,2,3 and converting them into zeros and ones and beyond.
My inner mathematician goddess began to sing. “I can do this!”, I thought.
Until that moment, I didn’t realize how much doubt I had about my ability to understand computers and make it through this camp. But I understand numbers. This will be my key. For the next hour I spent time on youtube, learning how to do my assignment and taking notes in a notebook.
And just like before, when I was 10 years old, my worries and fears began to pixelate and fade. It was just me and zeros and ones. Just like once it was just me and Dreams Go Far.
They certainly do.
Converting From Decimal To Binary Numbers (Two Different Methods):