2 minute read

Daily dispatches from my 12 weeks at the Recurse Center in Summer 2023

Just kidding, I love logic gates. I love logic gates, and I even like the simulated version, which I finally started messing around with today as part of the From nand to Tetris group/project to which I’ve commit myself for the next few weeks. The companion Java software suite is slightly non-intuitive and a lil’ wonky, so I only just got a taste of it before I had to break for the day, but now I’m going to hunker down with it and start poking around. Hence what will be an abbreviated post tonight.

So with NAND gates aside, I’ll say briefly that I already sense things settling into a routine this week. Today was much less about spelunking and planning and overcommitting than sitting down and doing.

  • Made it to the AM checkin, and in response to the prompt about everyone’s current obstacles I shared my ongoing challenge of how to balance the curricula of my various groups with actually producing things.
  • After that I had a quick pairing session where someone walked me through merging PRs protocol in GitHub, which I hadn’t done before. This is one of those things that’s a tiny step but a gigantic step.
  • Then there was the “Building Your Volitional Muscles” workshop (an RC classic, so I gather, and for good reason!)…
  • …followed by another excellent and very satisfying pairing session on one of the daily LeetCode problems
  • …followed by a meeting with a few kindred spirits who are at various stages of moving from arts and institutional backgrounds to coding jobs. For my part, I was grateful for another opportunity to talk through how to approach RC as a career switcher with some folks who are a few steps ahead. Once again I put on the table my concern about whether flexing those volitional muscles, as it were, will inadvertently come at the cost of a strategic job portfolio. Sure, studying C and understanding how software works beneath layers of abstraction is useful and all, but if you have nothing to show for it, it seems like perhaps not the best way of optimizing for the job search, no? But somewhere in the conversation I realized then that these “study groups” can be projects, too. They count. It’s just a matter of producing something and packaging it – in a compelling way, I added, before being reminded that, honestly, it doesn’t even need to be all that compelling. Reminds me of my old mantra from my days of writing seminar papers: It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be.
  • Last of all was the initial meeting of the C / build-you-own-LISP group that a few of us got going. Glad to have the support going into this, because I have an irrational fear of compiling. It’s just scary.

Okay, time to build up various logic gates just from NAND gates.