In: “Easy Life @ Mediocrity”.replace(“Easy”,
“Data Science”).replace(“Mediocrity”, “GA”)
Out: “Data Science @ GA”
“You’re still young, you have your whole life ahead of you,” they said. “Travel, see the world, enjoy your youth,” they said. I was doing so. I haven’t traveled far and wide, but I saw parts of the world I would have never seen without my job working at an airline. My very first plane ride was to Orlando, Florida for training and since then, I’ve been on so many — all for free. From turnaround trips to Las Vegas, to flying across the ocean to Tokyo, one could say that my passport was far from being empty. Although that’s what I’ve done for a third of my life, I’ve learned so many life skills that translate on any facet of my adult life, what now? What’s on the other side of traveling? Is there even the other side? Isn’t this the life? What am I missing?
Since freshman year of high school, I’ve had this fixation with going to college and having that notch on belt. My Algebra 1–2 teacher told us, “you won’t make it anywhere without a degree.” He used to kick me out of class for simple things like playing with my pencil and I’d learn from the window of the catwalk. The guy was a dick, to be honest. Do I really want to listen to advice from this guy? Whether it was to prove his theory wrong or right, college isn’t completely out of the picture, I’d like to one day go back. But essentially all it would be is a notch on my belt, but nonetheless an accomplishment.
My idea of accomplishments were being able to make something happen with no money to do it. But that my friends, is called debt.
I haven’t accomplished much in my adult years. Work was the same, sixty hour weeks, save enough money to pay off debt from the last trip, while planning the next one for the past 10+ years. Yes, my airfare was comped, but you still have to be there. Hotels, taxi’s, food (lots of food), alcohol (lots of alcohol), they all add up. I could live like this though, I told myself. Zero challenge, making money, and traveling the world, that’s the recipe for happiness — right? No, I needed something more.
I have experienced so much in my life these past couple of years: tons of travel, my longtime girlfriend is now my wife, I moved out of my parent’s house, and after years of pulling 12-to-16-hour workdays and getting to a place where I wasn’t always spending, I’m finally financially stable. So, what next?
I’ve held the same job at an airline for most of my adult life and craved something different. For the past 5 to 6 years, I’ve looked into joining a coding bootcamp. I’m good at understanding code because I am good at understanding when I don’t understand code. Weird, right? Code is sentences riddled with brackets, commas, and indents after indents. The computer will still understand what it wants to understand, that’s where years of working for one job(and being married) has taught me grace. Grace keeps me from overreacting when the computer doesn’t want to understand me and there is a mistake that I’ve made, that I need to correct. The growing world that is front-facing for us to see and especially the back-facing world that we don’t see, has always fascinated me. The internet, data, social media, e-commerce, it’s all so vast and the innovation keeps growing. I never thought I’d be so exposed to so many different beard oils, without actually being able to grow a full beard! Good for that company because word of mouth can only travel so far when it has fallen on ears of those who can’t grow beards. I always felt like a coding bootcamp was in my future, but my work schedule to debt ratio never wanted to give. If I didn’t work, my debt would pile up and I was never really able to pull the trigger. It was something I kept on the back burner.
Fast forward to April 2020, I was finally in a position to put my dreams and career first and I decided to join a part-time Python course. Part time was all I can do, at the time. Working through a pandemic, my airport station closing down and moving 25 minutes up the highway(without traffic, I live in Southern California). Things were moving and they are moving fast. My plate had less debt.. yes, but it was still full. Let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. It was definitely a challenge because I haven’t used much brain power the past 10 years and I woke a sleeping giant. I studied material from the course and took on extra material to sharpen my tools. I made it! I made it from beginning to end. That begs the question, what next?
I joined General Assembly in November of 2020, and once again, let me tell you, I’m so glad I did. I particularly chose to be a part of their Data Science Immersive because of my exposure to Python and working a little with SQL. Week 1, easy money. I finished with all my work while everyone with lesser experience were struggling. I offer my help to those who need it, I get a couple pointers myself. Week 2? Ouch. I’ve never been so challenged in my life. Since then, I’ve struggled and conquered, lost and won, I’ve gone through a roller coaster of emotions and I’m only on week 5 of a beautifully structured 12-week program. With the full support of my wife(financially and emotionally), I’ve made a good choice, my cohort is amazing, my instructors better, this is only the beginning. I’ve found what I’m missing, a place to be of help to those who might need it and taking help from the same peers when I need it. General Assembly is where I needed to be and I can’t wait to see what’s next.