“Welcome to your new life”

And so it begins.

Day one of Makers Academy.

I enter, early enough to look eager, but not early enough to look awkward.

Some look confident, already standing around with a mug of tea or coffee. Some look nervous and stressed, wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into, or if they can survive the course. To one side I can see rows of monitors, but in front of me all I can see are bean bags. Small bean bags. Big bean bags. Blue ones. Green ones.

A False Sense of Comfort?

As the day gets started with some introductions, then talks on what to expect from them and what they expect from us, I find myself sinking further and further into the bean bag. Throughout the morning, there is one thing they make clear. This is not going to be easy. It is going to be a long, intense, painful 12 weeks. But as I sit there, I think, “Yes, I know it’s going to be hard, but they’ve made damn well sure that they’ve done everything in their power to make it a more comfortable journey for us”. Aside from the bean bags, there is talk of meditation sessions each day, regular yoga sessions, ping pong tournaments etc.

During the early afternoon we return to our bean bags and start to talk about the pre-course material that we’d covered. We don’t delve into too much depth with these as they make it clear that if you had not completed the work, it is going to be up to you to make it up in your own time. For any future students of Makers Academy, that is probably rule number one. Do the pre-course material. Do it. Seriously. I can only imagine the stress I would have gone through had I not done it, as towards the end of day one you are thrown, maybe not into the deep end, but it’s definitely not the shallow end either.

Boris Bikes

By around 4pm we all get up and are sent off to find a pair and start coding. We’ve been given a task to think about and start coding a programme to deal with the implementation of Boris Bikes. We first need to think about all the different “objects” in the system, the bikes, the docking stations, the people etc. We then need to think about how all of these things interact with each other. We are given a long set of instructions, explaining the steps we need to take along the way as we start coding this programme…

…and that is it. We’ve just been told to go off and “code”. For someone who likes clear, concise and direct instructions, I feel a little lost.

“How far do we go down the instructions? What do we need to reach by the end of the evening? They said that it is highly frowned upon for us to leave at 6, so what time are we expected to stay until?”

I’m worrying about this in the back of my head as I sit down with my “pair” to start trying to figure out and work through the code. The next thing I know, it is 7pm and we’ve been so into the coding that we didn’t realise how fast time was flying by. We’d even missed the meditation session. Not that it has been easy sailing for the past few hours. We occasionally came across some road(or code?)-blocks and had to pause to figure them out. At this point my head is starting to develop a slow throb and I know I need to call it a day.

Lessons for the day;

  • Don’t sit on one of the smaller bean bags. It’s not worth it, they¬†will hurt your back
  • Use your notepad. Continuously.
  • Do Exercise. Your body needs it after sitting down all day.
  • Let yourself have fun.

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