Like so many of my fellow college classmates (and many high schoolers and other students in general I’m sure), after being thrown off my groove for the spring semester by the quarantine orders last March, I welcomed summer vacation 2020 by finishing my last final, driving aimlessly around my hometown with my Great Dane/Lab in the back seat (picture attached for reference because who doesn’t want a doggie pic), and buying way too many overly-caffeinated sweet teas so I could stay up to watch all of Outer Banks for a second time. Pretty wild times! That certainly wasn’t how I had planned to begin my summer nor was the idea of a summer spent mostly indoors and apart from friends part of my plan either. Realizing that I would need to be staying home as much as possible and needing something to do besides pet my dog for hours on end (though that is definitely time well spent), I enrolled in ITP 303: Full Stack Web Development to take online. That was one advantage of the switch to online: I could take a full technical credit course while saving money by not renting an apartment in LA and eating my mom’s homemade meals, win-win.
I came into this class with a little experience in coding in general and no experience in website coding at all. The curriculum of the class was a bit daunting and I didn’t quite believe that I would truly know and be able to apply all the topics that were listed in the syllabus after only 2 months. My professor alleviated all these concerns the first day and instead made me excited to delve into things that evening. With 3 and a half hour lecture/lab periods twice a week + an assignment based on new concepts due each week, we certainly did our fair share of fast-paced work and hustled along to not just learn the relevant material but also put it into practice by ourselves. Luckily, I had learned from the time spent online during that spring that the best way to make some friends in a class like that was to send a short Zoom DM to someone, maybe about their cat that came into frame or how they decorated their room or how good a job they did on the most recent project. So I did exactly that and got talking to some of my classmates so we could have a little support system/questions chat going on during these information heavy lectures.
Now, I’m certainly no web development expert nor do I consider my final project some masterpiece of computer programming, but I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish after only 8 weeks of experience in an entirely new domain of computer science. And there was a certain sense of achievement I felt being able to physically see the product of the whole week I spent in my dark bedroom, coding nonstop from a 7am breakfast until midnight (aside from breaks to pet my dog). I mean, I spent a whole day on my custom database alone so the fact that that worked would have been enough for me honestly. If you want to see the final product of my imaginary Italian travel guide website, here it is! Like I said, it’s nothing ground breaking or particularly special, but being able to put my summer hours towards something productive and fun, especially in a crazy time like last year, was the best part of it for me.