Next Stop: Moon — Phase 2

My adventures through Dev Academy’s web development programme

Maddy King, Enspiral Dev Academy’s Marketing Manager, recently completed Dev Academy’s intensive web development programme. She shares her journey, continuing on from the “How to turn cyborg” blog series. Check out the first bootcamp blogs, Next Stop: Moon and Phase 1.

Phase 2 began in week 4 of the bootcamp, and was a big step up. This was hard for those that were already struggling and juggling multiple other commitments. But it was also really fun, because we started to learn React, which is awesome. Many of the things that were difficult or clunky in JavaScript were made easy with React, and we started using databases. So I started rebuilding my personal project, which was a language learning app, with databases to manage user profiles. This meant I could mimic the ability to log in, even though we didn’t learn authorisation until much later.

Week 4 was a hard week, and we really really pushed ourselves. We started wondering how there could be any more time in the day, because we had so much to learn. We also started Thundertalks, which were short 5-minute presentations we had to do to the class, based on a new technology. We chose the topic that we needed to talk about from a list, and our job was to teach the rest of the class about that topic. I chose Transpiling and Babelify, exclusively because they sounded silly. We had a week to prepare.

That weekend I decided I needed to give some time to my household as I’d been neglecting all my duties as a good flatmate. I did some cleaning and washing, and I wanted to cook a special meal so I decided to go down to the vege market to get the ingredients. I was walking down our enormous set of concrete stairs holding my purse and putting all the reusable shopping bags inside each other when I slipped on the edge of a wobbly step, rotated in midair, clutched my bag, and went straight down on my weak shoulder.

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The staff at the hospital were really nice. I was very upset. All I could think about was “how could this happen in week 4 of bootcamp, coding is going to be really hard now.” I had broken bones before, but this was the most pain I’ve ever been in. It was like a fire was burning all through my shoulder, and every movement, every bump made it scream. They nurse showed me the x-ray, and the collarbone had snapped the whole way through, a clean break. So the snapped ends of the two pieces were just floating in my shoulder, and every movement jarred them like flicking a stiff piece of wire. It was fairly awful.

But of course there’s nothing they can do for a collarbone, you can’t put a cast on it, so they prescribed me some heavy dose painkillers and sent me on my way, with a checkup in a couple of weeks.

I spent the day lying in bed, dosed up to my eyeballs, writing my Thundertalk on my cellphone.

The next couple of weeks were really hard. I couldn’t really sleep because of the pain, just ebbed in and out of a dosed up haze with lightning crashing through my body every few minutes. This also made it hard to concentrate in class — I either had to take painkillers and lose my focus, or go off them and be distracted by the lightning. After a couple of days I went off them, and I couldn’t absorb anything in the lectures.

My cohort were extremely amazing at this point. From tying my shoelaces to cutting up my lunch like a toddler, they expanded around me to make sure I had everything I needed. They put on my jacket, carried my water to class and, most amazingly, stayed late after school to walk me through the things we had learned that day. I wouldn’t have learned React without their efforts — everything that had floated past me during the day, they made sure sunk into my brain at night. With this superhuman effort I was able to rebuild my personal project with one hand in React, and get it fully functional with four databases. I was so glad I had started on it early!

The osteopath said I had just landed on the exact angle I needed to break it. He said collarbones were designed to break, because otherwise you’ll break a rib that could pierce your lungs or heart. He worked on it so that I could regain mobility, and got me back to using it eventually, encouraging me to get out of my sling and move it around when I could. Every treatment felt terrible though, violating all my instincts to protect and shield it. It was so painful.

In this awesome state, I entered Phase Three. Check out the Phase Three blog here.

If you’d like to take the leap and build yourself a better future, apply to Dev Academy and learn web development today. Diversity scholarships now available.

Next blog → Next Stop: Moon — Phase 3