So what's it like behind door number one?

Class is comprised of 21 students, one teacher and two teaching assistants. The room is set with a ton of natural light, casting shadows on the 10 or so large MAC desktops, emulating that hipster-vibe one can expect from pretty much any North Park establishment. Prior to walking through those doors I had envisioned a stark room filled with your cliché computer-geek playing the role of the students. Much to my pleasant surprise, the scene was quite the contrary. All of the students were extremely nice, around my age (mid twenties) and really easy to talk to. They were also displaying the same nervous, excited energy that I was harnessing. Even the TA's showed a degree of nerves when speaking in front of us. It was comfortably vulnerable; this was not at all the picture I painted in my head.

Week one came in with a peculiar entrance. Alan, our lead teacher, had us focus on our emotional skills, which is not what one expects from a coding class. Lesson number one: freedom of expression is the catalyst to creativity. Turns out the guy in charge knew exactly what we all needed to let our guards down. By forcing us to introduce ourselves and share our emotions we were able to quickly realize that we weren't all that different.

Don't worry; this class isn't just one big group therapy session. Prior to arrival, each student was given a pre-assignment to complete the Code Academy HTML and CSS course, so week one was more of a refresher on those. We went over our topic for the first half of the day and then the second half we were tasked with making a website. By the end of the week I had created and put up on my GitHub four websites! I've come so far in just one short week. High five self, you totally can do this.

During week two we went over JavaScript and it was hard. I took some courses in JavaScript on Code Academy but was still having difficulty working with the syntax and placement of the loops. I went home every day of the week, studied after class, didn't go to the gym and ate terribly. I felt horrible, but I think I needed it. I had a revelation that in order for the material to sink in, I needed to take care of my body and mind or else all of this tuition, time, and energy were a waste. Alan explained to us the neurological breakdown of how our brain cells grow and repair and our homework that weekend was to not look at code once. I found it hard because I just wanted to drill it in but after a full weekend of rest, I can honestly say that I understood JavaScript a little better. I started dreaming of code that week (should I be worried?!) and it all made sense! I started to see how everything strings together and at that point, I knew it was just a matter of repetition before it clicked for good.

Learning how to code is like learning a foreign language. During week one, when I saw JavaScript I knew what language it was but I couldn't read it. During week two I now can read JavaScript but I can't write it well. Hopefully at the end of week three I will be able to write and somewhat be able to speak it. Let's hope so because week four we are starting a totally different language, Ruby….

I interviewed a couple other students to get their perspectives on the first weeks and they said:

- "The first week was not so scary and the free coffee every morning is awesome!"
- "Everyone is so open about sharing."
- "I love the neighborhood; the breweries and coffee shops make it so unique."
- "I like the teaching style better at LEARN."- in comparison of Coleman University
- "At first everything was overwhelming but it is a good feeling and keeps me motivated."
- "Pair programming is definitely the best way to learn."
- "This full-time structure is so much better then school with situational classes throughout the week. You actually get to submerge yourself in the languages rather then going to class for an hour every other day."

LEARN about week 3 from a student's perspective