Never Graduate

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In a miracle of luck and timing, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to come back to the Recurse Center to focus on personal programming projects for the next six weeks (already down to five.) My plan is to blog here to keep myself accountable and to have a public document of my time at RC.

I first came to RC (formerly Hacker School) back in October of 2013. I was living in Japan, working as a reporter, when I happened to come across a tweet. It read something like “Love programming? Apply to Hacker School!” Clicking that link changed my life in innumerable ways, but most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to do what I love for a living – to be able to support myself while pursuing my own interests and scratching the analytical part of my brain that always felt unsatisfied at other jobs.

The thing that makes RC special is that it’s engineered to maximize the likelihood of making you a dramatically better programmer. Every core batch event is designed to train your focus on something just outside your current abilities; something that you might know how to start, but not know how to see through to completion. Tackling these kinds of projects are what RC is all about, and the work that people have produced here is mind-blowing. Just off the top of my head, a handful of presentations this week covered:

Even though this is my first time in the “new” Downtown Brooklyn space, I’m struck by how similar the energy feels. The library is bigger, the hardware lab is better, and there’s a 3D printer and scanner. At the same time, it seems like the batches have become more self-sustaining, with a new rice cooker for cooking group meals, a new espresso machine, and a pantry stocked with tons of snacks that people donate and share. The walls are covered with guides, handmade art projects, and programmable gizmos of all kinds – the physical dotfiles that have built up over the scores of batches spent here.

I always tell people that my first batch in 2013 was the best three months of my life, and getting the chance to experience it again is very meaningful. I’m incredibly grateful to be be back, and so thankful to Nick, Sonali, Dave, and all the other faculty and batchmatches past and present for making this place what it is.