Catherine Jimenez
3 min readMay 24, 2020


Surviving My First Week of Coding Bootcamp

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Starting coding bootcamp was something I’ve been looking forward to for the past year. I went through all the motions and checked off my lists. Drew up plans, saved up money, quit my job, and began to code furiously. I did everything possible to begin immersing myself in the local tech world, from joining tech-based Meetups to researching coding bootcamps. I was excited, but intimidated. I am naturally anxious and wanted to take every measure to set myself up for success before taking the leap and applying to bootcamps.

So, in an act of excessive caution, I signed up for a coding bootcamp prep course. (A solid foundation never hurt!) To my immense surprise, bootcamp prep went swimmingly! I passed every assessment, grasped every concept, and by the end of that course I felt like I really got beginner JavaScript. I felt confident enough to begin the bootcamp application process.

A few months later I got accepted to my top-choice bootcamp and was on my way. I powered through my prep work, feeling increasingly confident with each passing lab. Things were going to be great! I started bootcamp and things were fine… until day three. I was utterly lost and convinced I didn’t actually know how to code and was clearly heading down a dark road full of failed code challenges and wounded spirits (not dramatic at all). I didn’t cry, but was suddenly overcome with intense allergy symptoms as I questioned what I was doing and how I would possibly pass my upcoming coding challenge. After my allergies subsided, I got serious about learning. I had one week to absorb the influx of new material we would later be tested on. So I got to work and began to strategize. I started rewatching lectures and taking copious notes. I started reaching out to classmates to pair program, since it’s how I learn best. I started coding my own projects based on deliverables discussed in lecture. The weekend before our coding challenge, I coded for 14 hours straight each day because I am a machine. Sustenance and hydration are for mortals! I made sure I really understood what my code was doing and why it was behaving the way it did. I coded until my brain refused to function.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

The day of our coding challenge I didn’t feel as confident as I’d hoped, but I knew I’d put forth my best effort to master the material. I felt relatively calm during the challenge, although I did end up succumbing to nerves midway through. The coding challenge was over before I knew it and then came the most difficult part: waiting for my results. I’ll spare you the suspense: I totally passed! I was convinced I’d failed and was already mapping out alternative plans, but had done much better than I’d anticipated! I’d survived!