WDI Week 1 Reflection

18 Jan 2016

Last week was the first week of WDI. By the end of it on Friday afternoon, it felt like a very long week. Everybody was clearly knackered after Friday when we had drinks, and went home early. Although the hours of class are very tolerable (9-5), the activities that happened after class made it tiring.

During the week, we covered the basics of using the CLI, HTML, CSS and JavaScript in class, and implemented them in the lab exercises (which is a fancy term for saying homework). These lab exercises are killer, and require a lot of time for individual research. On Tuesday, our lab exercise was to replicate a 2-page website from scratch using HTML. On Wednesday, our lab exercise was to replicate a fancy landing page from scratch using HTML and CSS. On Thursday, we learned about bootstrap (not really how to use it), and our lab exercise was to recreate a homepage that looks the same as thenextweb.com. Our lab exercise involved solving some challenging JavaScript problems using string and array methods. I used the weekend to read up about bootstrap and the documentation.

I suppose the reason I (almost) died was because I stupidly decided to watch movies and go drinking on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. I would go home past midnight having not put in sufficient hours for the lab exercises, and then sleep around 2:30am rushing to catch up (even though I am too tired to remember anything I had done). It’s stupid and I really need to prohibit having social activities during the weekdays if I want to make the most of WDI. I need to dedicate at least 5 hours to doing lab exercises & gym after school and follow my plan! This will be my goal for the rest of the week.

WDI Commencement

13 Jan 2016

Monday marked the beginning of the 12-week General Assembly Web Development Immersive Program. Here’s what happened:

The morning session was an orientation of sorts. Stephanie Martin walked us through a list of do’s and don’ts, calendar dates, and general administrative stuff like hours and so forth. Afterwards up until lunchtime, it was the “Install Fest”, where we installed a bunch of programs including:

  • XCode – Coding kit for iOS and Mac stuffs
  • iTerm2 – a ‘cooler’ version of terminal
  • OMZsh – a config file for shell programs
  • Ruby & Rails
  • Homebrew

We then had an hour break for lunch. After that, class started. Our instructor was Willie Tong, who characterized himself as an old school coder and a big Star Wars fan. I think he teaches quite well, and he’s also very patient with our class (who I feel is not tech-savvy at all, to a frustrating extent). Our teaching assistant (TA) was Denis, who used to work at the Genie startup, and who rather understandably does NOT show as much patience with our class. Denis was a graduate of last year’s WDI, so it’s good that he can explain things clearly to a bunch of absolute newbies.

Class was about the command-line-interface, basically a run-through of what we had already learned in our fundamentals (work we had to do prior to yesterday). There’s definitely a lot more that I’m interested in learning about with regards to UNIX. I guess the key takeaway today was to always read the manual/documentation.

Yesterday, things started to pick up. We went through HTML & CSS basics, and did some practices in class including playing a CSS selector game (flukeout.github.io). We also learned about Chrome Dev Tools, which is a highly effective way of editing CSS for the website. Basically upon saving the HTML code, the idea is to use Dev Tools (command+alt+i) to tweak the CSS on your website, and THEN copy the stylesheet into your code. This would be much more efficient than constantly refreshing the page after making saves. We spent the day going through problems and familiarizing ourselves with the different HTML tags and CSS style options, but the key takeaway was definitely that you should use DevTools all the time to learn how (cool) webpages are structured (code-wise).

Acclimatization and the importance of routine

So a few days have passed and it seems that I haven’t been able to fully acclimatize with the new habits I set myself for New Year.  Especially the following:

  1. Get out of bed before 9:30am
  2. Daily planning

The reasons for the first problem are two-fold. Firstly, I sleep way too late, for some reason or another I am not able to sleep before 2am. To be able to get out of bed before 9:30am, I have to sleep before 1am, which means I have to get ready for bed around midnight. Secondly, I take a really long time to get out of bed, which could be a result of sleeping way too late. Either way, it seems necessary that I wake up around 9am if I want to get out of bed at 9:30am, because I’ve had to go through this “waking-up process” for a while now.

The second problem is a result of not knowing HOW to use the daily planner that I bought for myself, as well as not knowing WHEN to use it. I say I will plan during breakfast, but I believe that during breakfast my mind is blank about what needs to be done during the day, or what I have to do. I just write “study”. I believe the planning needs to be more detailed. What exactly do I need to study? Which chapters of which course? What do I need to work out at the gym? Etc. Also, I believe the planning needs to be done spread out during the day. I should have the planner at all times, just like a school diary I suppose. I think it should be used as a notebook rather than a planner, so I have recorded notes of what needs to be done during the day, instead of just saying, yeah I’ll do it when I have time.

It seems that a routine is necessary for me to maintain the good habits I want to keep. WDI begins next week. It starts at 9am and ends at 5pm. On top of that there is up to 5 hours of homework that needs to be done, and I need to go to the gym.  My routine should look something like this:


Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.19.10 PM

Chapter 1: New Beginnings

01 Jan 2016

Today marks the first day of 2016. A quarter of my life has almost ended, and now it is all history. The prologue to my life is finished.

From today onwards, it is Chapter 1. Time to get real. It is the first day of the rest of my life.

Here’s to new beginnings, new habits and a fresh start:

  • Regular work schedule = Get out of bed before 9:30am
  • Daily planning during breakfast (brown journal)
  • Regular reflection (blog)
  • Gymming regularly