Jeff Maxim

My experience at Recurse Center

Recurse Center Day 1

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Today was my first day at Recurse Center!

I was more excited than my niece, Lisa, with a fresh piece of watermelon on a hot day.

Lisa loves some watermelon!

I’m hoping someone reads my blogs, so I’m going to try to keep them short, entertaining, and accessible. With that in mind, here’s my top three moments from my first day:

1) Lunch Break: I’m a middle school public school teacher in NYC. I haven’t had a lunch break without children or meetings or planning or grading in my whole professional life. Today, I got an hour lunch break, and went to a pretty tasty local sandwich spot, and I went with some of my new Recurse Center (RC) friends. They were smart, social, the food was tasty, and there were no kids or meetings. This was my best hightlight from the day.

2) I found my project: My brother Mike, general manager, CTO, and general badass at OKcupid, is the smartest programmer I know. I started chatting him up around 6pm today, late in my first day at RC, and he tipped me off to an exciting project I can work on for maybe my whole 12 weeks at RC. I’m going to pull XBoard compatible chess engines into a browser for human users to play against. It’ll take some serious Python and Javascript code to make this run, but I’m smart, so I can do it.

3) Meeting with Mary Rose Cook: Meeting MRC kinda feels like I’m meeting a celebrity. I did my RC skype interview with MRC, and I’ve also read a bunch of her articles before coming to RC. I got stuck on a github issue midday today, and I knew MRC is a github ninja. I walked over to her to see if she could help me out (of course she could!). Not only did she help me with the steps to solve my github issue, she gave me a whole under-the-hood understanding of what I was trying to do. This is why I came to RC: To learn from brilliant programmers. To learn programming at a foudational level. To be inspired by someone brilliant. This happened to me already on day 1.

That’s just my top three moments, but the whole day was a blast. I can’t wait for the next twelve weeks!

Tip of the day:

MRC gave a speech at the beginning of the day with her top four tips for your time at RC. Her tips were:

  • Dive deep
  • Debug systematically
  • Know your tools
  • Learn one language really well