First Week at the Recurse Center

I’ve just started the second week at the Recurse Center, a retreat for curious programmers to recharge and grow. It feels valuable to take some time to reflect on how it’s been so far, what I would like to focus on going forward, and start to set up goals (albeit soft ones) of what I hope to have done before the end of these three months.

So Far

The first week was hectic to say the least. A lot of new faces and so many possible things to engage in. The by far most challenging part is deciding what to prioritize. Up until now I’ve managed to keep self-expectations of output to a minimum, something I hope I can combine with a sense of direction in what I would like to have built before the end of these months.

The most enjoyable moments have been when I’ve taken a leap of faith (at least I find it scary) and invited others to come pair/mob program (so far mostly working on Protohackers problems). It’s both been incredibly fun and a great way to learn how to build concurrent applications in Rust.

Short-term Priorities

During the rest of this first month, I am perfectly happy just exploring. I don’t feel the need to create anything in particular, and want to spend as much of my time pair programming as possible. Completing all Protohackers problems I guess could be a soft goal, but I don’t have to.

I’ve joined some groups:

And hope go get into contributing more substantially to these as the weeks pass. I’m totally ok exchanging one or two of these for something else if I feel more excited by something else, but the Paper reading group I hope to stick with even if it gets tough.

I take great pleasure in understanding new concepts, and first hand sources are great. It also really feels like it’s the edge of my abilities - its really hard to be concentrated on information dense text for a longer period of time for me, and finding strategies to make the experience of reading this kind of text easier would be incredibly useful.

Something I’ve realized just from this first paper we are reading is that it’s - at least for me - much better to just skip the Abstract, skim the Introduction, and THEN start digging in to the text with a stronger intent of understanding. All the abbreviations and concepts that are presented in the first to sections is simply to dense to understand without being very familiar of concepts within the field (an frankly just makes my head hurt), but the sections after that are much more manageable and insightful.

Long-term Priorities

I want to focus on what I would call the social aspect of Recurse: pair programming, presenting on both programming and non-programming topics, interacting with people, sharing thoughts. In general try to get rid of this feeling that I don’t know enough to be able to contribute with thoughts and ideas, and become better at voicing my thoughts in a thoughtful and constructive way. I’ve been primarily a consumer of content for the majority of my life. Very rarely post comments or interact with communities online, even if I take great joy in reading everything. I would like to spend more of my time creating/contributing.

Before the end of the batch, I would also be proud if I’ve built a larger project of some kind in Rust. With others or alone could both be of interest, but I’d really like to be exposed to designing slightly larger code-bases, and think my time here would be a good time to do this. Jumping in to an open source project and helping out would also be a neat experience.