Farewell Iron Yard Academy

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Last friday was Demo Day, and the last day of class for my cohort.

It took me until now to write about it cause I have literally fallen into a semi-coma from being so tired, and so sick. Although I wasn’t in a reality show, it felt like that the last couple of weeks. I had a cold, that turned into a severe upper respiratory infection and bronchitis. I was in denial, mainly because I had a final project to finish. But once I wasn’t breathing properly, and going through coughing fits–I had to go to the ER. I am not a good sick person, so this was horrible for me.

Once I was on heavy drugs, I was terrified cause I still had a half formed project to complete, and I knew that I was in no condition to complete it. Luckily, I had a half started a side project. And luckily my instructor allowed me the chance to build it up to par for Demo day. And luckily, I was able to do it…and get it done the week of Demo day. Whew!

The strange part about it all—besides the near death experience at the end of my intensive code school–is that it didn’t feel like the end. It felt like a really busy day at school. Demo day was a whirlwind. I felt like I was ready for my next lab assignment. I was ready to keep working.

And then we all went out to lunch. And it slowly dawned on me….this is the last day.

It was scary and exciting at the same time.

Exciting cause I am just so grateful that I made it. Through all the hard times, and pushing and pushing and failing and pushing….I made it to the end. Unfortunately not everyone in my cohort can say that. Scary because it means that this lovely environment where I am not the weird girl is going away. I have to say, my class was amazing and I loved hanging out with all of them everyday. It was like a little paradise island of interesting, smart and funny people that I love to hang around with. That is something that I am going to miss so much. I can’t think of a time outside of college where I have felt that much acceptance. Normally I am constantly questioned about why I want to learn new things and why do I have so much ambition! With these lovely people, I was just a normal girl, or at least it felt normal to be geeky…which is so much better than normal anyway.

Our friday celebratory lunch, turned into a late happy hour. I stayed for a long time, just talking to my classmates. I realized that this was the most time we had spent talking about anything. Normally we only have enough time to chat as we take breaks between writing code. So it was nice to just sit and talk, and it gave me a little bitty window to reflect on my experience thus far. And the truth is… it has been hard, but it has been great.

I feel so privileged to be at this place in my life. I feel so blessed to have had this experience. In a way, being able to be employed as a software developer is the least important aspect of this journey. The best part has been the person that I have become in the process. I believe in myself more, and I participate in life more, and I can see so much opportunity that before was invisible to me. I feel like I am crafting my kind of life, where I can do the things that I love, and make a living doing it. I plan to do that by getting more women like me involved, and helping to teach more people to code. How many ways can you say your grateful? I feel like I may never stop.

In many ways I hate to see this part of my life end, but I am so looking forward to where I go from here. I have a feeling that instead of an ending, I am experiencing and expansion, and that somehow all of this will just keep growing and changing. I hope that we all stay connected along the way, cause I already miss these guys so much.

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