November 9, 2013 · ada

My Ada Developers Academy Blog: Week 2

Week two of Ada was mostly defined by the new faces we saw in the classroom as well as getting to know one another better. We began to meet TAs in the classroom in the afternoons. We saw two new faces in the classroom everyday who were there to help us with our projects in the afternoon.

On Tuesday evening, we attended Seattle.rb as a group. I arrived before anyone else from Ada, so I tried rather unsuccessfully to make small talk with the men who were already there. I felt a lot more comfortable when the Ada group started to arrive and not only was the balance of people I know to people I don't know tipped in my favor, but so was the gender balance. It was exciting to see a lot of new people who were interested in talking to us and encourage us.

Blake, Elizabeth, Simone, and I went to Cure, the bar downstairs from Substantial, where we chatted with Ruby community people. There were a few people who were very excited to talk with us and hear about the program. It became apparent however that we were being treated as The Group to which we belong, rather than as A Person who belongs to said group. I am happy and excited to talk about Ada and I am proud to be part of the inagual class, but that's not really the only aspect to who I am nor is it the most interesting part of who I am. This is frustrating to me because I do not exist to be used by men as an opportunity for them to explore their feelings about women in tech. There was also talk about how feminism helps queer men as well as straight men, and I felt very uncomfortable. It feels as though I can't express myself or my opinions because I am around people who for one, assume I am interested in all their ~* feelings*~ about women/feminism, and also because I know that I will have to rely on this network to find a job once we graduate from Ada. Having come from a background and culture that are not welcoming of someone like myself, I have had to take great care to walk on eggshells around men to not alientate them because my future might depend on them in many ways. So when I was faced with men talking openly about their opinions about women, feminism, technology, and sexuality, I was actually incredibly put off. I am hoping that I will be able to meet more women at the next meetup and that over time all of us at Ada will begin to be seen as individuals with various strengths and personalities.

The rest of the week was pretty fantastic though. We had opportunities to create our own projects that practiced core concepts of classes and methods, as well as time to work in pairs on specific problems. I really enjoyed working through problems with partners, but found that I really made a lot of progress with my individual project. I got help a few days in a row trying to come up with a workaround since I had accidentally designed my project with a database in mind (oops) and needed to come up with an alternative. Friday afternoon, Jeff from Filament Group came to TA and spent some time with me reviewing my code and giving pointers. He really helped clarify some parts of Ruby that we hadn't covered in class yet and I felt like I had a more solidified understanding of how objects behave. I look forward to debugging the code he helped me with, as well as when he returns to help teach us some JavaScript.

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