I applied to attend The Recurse Center this year. I didn’t get accepted, but from idea to interviewing, the whole process was a great experience. Their application process is very clear, and they really excel at providing excellent information before, during and after.

A year ago, I set a goal: sometime during 2018, I was going to send an application.

That meant first learning a language well enough for the programming tasks. I started learning Python. The Hard Way! As one does. The book worked really well for me, it assumes nothing and explains everything. The exercises make you DO THE WORK to learn. And it was good for me to park halted attempts at JavaScript behind in the browser for a while, and start learning Python like this – from scratch with just me and an empty console. Plus one helluva inspiring goal.

I sent my application in April. By then I had written tic-tac-toe that was playable in a terminal. I bet no one in the history of Python has ever before spent as many commits to do that… But every line was written by me, using code I understood, never peaking at other people’s scripts for inspiration. The task was “impossible” at first, before it suddenly was completely doable.

I got the conversational interview, we talked about debugging! I got the pairing interview, we continued on my tic-tac-toe game! I was – and still am ridiculously proud for having made it that far.

People who have been rejected can try again. “If you do reapply, we care most about seeing what’s changed since the last time you applied.”

Challenge accepted, RC. Challenge accepted.