I moved cross-country for Hacker School and I'm only slightly convinced this is Real Life

February 10 2014

Or, Hacker School: Day 1.

Holy Shit! I have been fairly silent over the past month because I got accepted to Hacker School and had to figure out the logistics of quitting my job, moving cross-country, and living in the most expensive city in the States without a proper job for at least 3 months.

So allow me to re-iterate: Holy Shit! And somehow I did it and I'm alive but not entirely certain it's not all just a dream.

Today was the first day of a possibly insane but probably brilliant adventure. Hacker School is self-described as a writers' retreat for programmers. I've heard other Hacker Schoolers struggle to explain it as a day spa for programmers, a hippie commune programming cult (okay, that one was me), not a school, not necessarily for these kind of Hackers, and more. The Hacker School founders and facilitators have written extensively about what Hacker School is and is not, so dig into their blog if you're curious. It's difficult to define, and they do a much better job than I do.

For the first day, I dedicated a good hour to getting my computer set up properly (if you've seen my wget posts, you'll know this is something I've struggled with in the past). Then I had my first attempt at pair programming in which I explained a few cool things about scikit-learn to another Hacker Schooler who had never used it before. In turn she showed me some regression modeling in R.

I also got to play with HS's resident Apple II. One of the other Hacker Schoolers wrote a simple for loop to print out "DONG" 100 times. Why would you do anything else?

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I am supremely honored and excited as Hell to be at Hacker School. For the next three months, I will be surrounded by intellectually curious nerds who are more thoughtful and self-aware than most people I know. I hope I am brave and honest enough to confront the gaps in my knowledge, ask questions, seek help, and ultimately get the most out of what will be some of the most formidable months of my life. Which reminds me of the Bene Gesserit litany:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn to see fears path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing... Only I will remain.

tags: hacker school