​6 weeks of 12 - resting and having rules

Posted on February 13, 2017

From a snowy and rainy New York

When I woke up this Friday, I didn’t want to do anything at all. This week I have solved a code problem that was a great challenge to me, been at the center waay too late in the evenings which made my head spin so I’ve had trouble sleeping. This Thursday we had a goodbye party for the batch that has been overlapping ours. I had some awesome, interesting conversations which I really enjoyed. Being an introvert however, social events are draining (in the short term) but of course it’s wonderful to build relationships (in the long term) but I have to refill the energy. So I took Friday off, watching Attack on Titan (which I’ve already watched two times) and just stayed at home. I fell asleep at 6 so I guess I needed it!

One thing that is so cool about RC and the people is how fast you can get into a meaningful conversation with someone you never (or briefly) met before. I sometimes have a hard time being social because I don’t really enjoy small talk, but at RC it’s like you cut to the chase right away and suddenly you are talking to someone about the fear of not being good enough, relationships, anxiety being in recruitment processes. I really love that about RC.

I’ve already done half the batch now which feels soooo weird. I feel like I just got accustomed to the space and all the people and now half of the people has left and on Monday the space will be filled with new people! I am going to attend a panel discussion about structure and accountability while being at RC. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately trying to figure out what works best for me.

Having rules and structures

I have started to realise that I’ve always had pre-defined rules or made up my own. Things like how much work I should be able to do in a day or in a week, when I should be at the office so people won’t think I’m a slacker, at what time I should have lunch because it’s the lunch hours so people probably expect me to. Even at KTH I tried to get in early in the mornings just because.. you should. And I also had a part time job so if I had a big gap in my schedule I would sign up for work. Always somewhere I needed to be or something I needed to do. Except for one summer in maybe 2010, I’ve been working every summer since I was 13. And RC started pretty much the same way for me. I made up rules in my head regarding what time I had to be at RC in the morning, at what time I need to get up every morning to be able to go to the gym, how many hours I should be at the center each day and what I should be able to achieve in a certain amount of time. I’ve realize that I am a bit stressed almost all the time! Because with so much strict rules, there is a good chance you will fail to meet all of them, which just makes me feel like a bad, irresponsible person.

So now, I’m instead working hard to let these rules and restrictions go. I’ve stopped taking the fastest way to RC and instead been strolling around a bit, trying to take different routes. This made me find a new coffee shop which can make my coffee much stronger (Swedish style!) and It's just a lovely shop with awesome coffee and it makes me a bit happier walking in there every morning. The photo below is the coffee shop and the photo at the top of this post is from when I took a break to go and try out a cafe close to RC. There is so much good food here.

I’m trying to ask myself what I want and need and just being open, experiencing, learning and absorbing things. It takes a lot of energy trying to be perfect and getting everything right all the time. Energy that should be spent on learning and experiencing.

So when I manage to take away the pressure of all the rules, I end up coding until midnight, haha! And I always thought I worked best in the morning. I am realising that when I am doing this, just letting go of all my predefined thoughts about how I/some employer/other RCers/friends/whatever think something should be like and just trying to ask myself each moment, what I want to do, I end up feeling better, being happier, more productive and spending more time at the center than I do if I’m like “Ok so I came in at 10 that means I have to stay at least until 7 and I have to at least solve this problem and start working on that thing”. Some people need structure, but I am not sure how much structure I need since I’ve always had too much of it, at my work places and in my head! I actually feel like I’m slacking less when I’m trying to let go of these rules. It’s not as easy as it may sound though, these habits and ways of thinking are rooted deep within my subconscious.

The second half of my batch I’ll keep challenge these thoughts even more. In terms of coding, I’m almost done with my programming course and I just did an implementation of a path finding algorithm, A*. It’s an algorithm for calculating the shortest path between two nodes on a map or a grid system. You can read more about it here if you’re interested: http://www.policyalmanac.org/games/aStarTutorial.h...

And here is a cool browser-based visualisation that a person here at RC showed me: https://qiao.github.io/PathFinding.js/visual/

When I'm finished with the assignment I'll probably get back to my Space Invaders and try to finish that too, by adding scores and stuff.

Sara Lindström

The first thing Sara does when she is going to learn how to code and has installed a new IDE is to change the background theme. In Diablo III the most important things are pets, wings and using abilities that look cool. When she is not trying to learn how to code or farming pets, she likes to do handstands and go to rock concerts. After a M.Sc. degree in a little bit of everything but nothing in particular, she has done a little bit of everything but nothing in particular and finally realised that she wants to do something very particular, namely code.