Running The Gauntlet

Here is what I have learned.

In the pivotal moments, there are no hands to hold.

The wind blows cold and you are alone. And you must be strong.

If you have been following my humble quest, I realize that you probably have some questions. You may be wondering,

What is the name of this programming boot camp anyway? She never refers to the camp by name!”

 I contacted my program, explained the nature of my blog, and asked if it would be ok to use their name in my blog posts. You see all this time I have been uncertain about whether or not it was appropriate to single out the program by name.

To my surprise, they were thrilled with the idea of my blog and had no reservations about me using the name of the program.

So (drum roll please!) I am a proud member of Codeup, an elite professional school for computer programming!

You may also be curious about the application process.

“How does a person get accepted into a programming boot camp in the first place?” 

There are several computer programming boot camps popping up all over the country like mushrooms after a rain. Each one has its own requirements for admission.

Codeup has several phases to its application process.

First I had to fill out an online application that included an essay question. This was a herculean task for me. I am that person who will rewrite a sentence 50 million times until it sounds absolutely perfect.

I reread my essay until I had it memorized and subjected my family to countless recitations. It literally took me a week of crumpled up discarded rough drafts and late nights staring at a blinking computer cursor to write that simple essay.

Second, I endured a telephone interview. This should not have been a big deal, but I am just as bad about interviews as I am about essays.

Third I had to take an Algebra test. (Remember asking your math teacher, “When am I ever going to use this?” Well you just got the answer-The next time you want to change your life.) The test was timed and covered a wide variety of topics. As an Algebra teacher, this should not have been an issue. Accept that I am me and anxiety might as well be my middle name. I fretted over this test like one would stress over a diagnosis of cancer. “What if I fail it?” “How embarrassing would it be for an Algebra teacher to fail an Algebra test?”

I did not fail the test.

In fact I did well enough to advance to the next stage of the application process: the logic test.

By this point I was petrified! Another test? I almost went into cardiac arrest over the Algebra test and I am good at Algebra. In college I got a C in logic. To make it even more “fun” the logic test was also timed!

To this day, I don’t know how I made it through that test but I did. I thought that I had come to the end of the gauntlet. Surely they had enough information to decide if I was worthy.

Nope. There was one last obstacle: The Instructor Interview

I sat alone in my car, listening to the chill wind howling outside. By that point, I had already been through so much. I really needed to do well at the instructor interview to seal the deal.

Alone in my car on the day of the interview, I took deep breaths, mediated, counted to ten, and yes I even prayed. I remember noticing the silence of my car, but for the pounding of my heart and the rushing of my blood in my own ears.

In the moments that matter, we often have to succeed or fail, sink or swim—Alone.

I got out of my car, braved the artic blast and shivered in my suit on the way to the designated interview site. I wish I could say I was shivering because of the cold. I walked inside, took a deep breath, flashed a confident smile and firmly shook the hand of the interviewer.

Spoiler Alert!

I did just fine during the instructor interview. There was nothing to fear (except bone crushing failure.) I got a call that same day telling me that I had been accepted into Codeup.

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have always had my suspicions about the veracity of this claim.

Instead, I would say whatever doesn’t kill you leaves an impression upon you. This impression can have any number of effects. It won’t necessarily make you stronger, but it just might.

For me, my Codeup journey so far has revealed my pent up anxieties, but it has also sharpened my focus.

I ran the gauntlet and I survived. Am I stronger, smarter, better, greater? I honestly don’t know.

But I am here. I am writing to you. And I am determined to see this thing through to the end.


One thought on “Running The Gauntlet

  1. Great, Sounja! You are such an inspiration! Codeup should be proud to have you!


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