June 6, 2012

Roundup of Bloc Students: Week 3

Each week I look at my students' blogs, but I wanted to include a few of the interesting and insightful posts here. I'll try to make this a regular thing I do each week. I won't include all of the blog posts, just the ones that I found to be helpful and go into some depth or cover a topic that I think is important when learning Rails.

This is the first week where I'm pushing students to start their projects and stop reading. At some point, you have to stop mentally preparing for how cold the water is and just jump in. It's going to feel very uncomfortable at first, but over time, you'll acclimate. The human body and mind is incredibly adaptive and if you accept the uncomfortable feeling and keep working through it, over time it'll go away (or you'll start to drown, in which case, the Bloc life guards are on full duty to throw you a lifejacket).

Learning to program is not easy. I have seen nearly every single one of my students visibly and vocally frustrated. It's normal, you just need to figure out how to clear your head when the stress comes out. Walk, jog, lift weights, swear, listen to some good music, do yoga, or meditate. Do whatever you need to get the stress out of your body so that you can get back to having a clear and focused mindset. *You will not be able to code when you're frustrated, and in fact you may cause more harm than good.*

[Leaning into the Hard Things](http://scottmagdalein.tumblr.com/post/23996200337/leaning-into-the-hard-things)

Great post on getting out of your comfort zone to learn how to program. Referenced several times by other students.

[Procs vs Lambdas](http://choppingbloc.tumblr.com/)

The best explanation I've read yet on the differences between a Ruby Proc and Lambda. Great for beginners, easy to understand with sample code.

[How MVC works](http://elibildner.com/2012/06/05/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-mvc-or-how-i-mostly-learned-where-things-go-in-rails-2/)

A terrific write up to explain how MVC works. Very easy for beginners to digest.

[Ruby Symbols](http://choppingbloc.tumblr.com/)

A great, succinct write up on how symbols work in Ruby. Terrific use of the hash as an example.

[On the Subject of Symbols](http://rmatt8748.tumblr.com/post/24268123080/on-the-subject-of-symbols)

Another great write up on how symbols work.

[Amara: One step forward, five steps back](http://amarabloc.tumblr.com/post/23835128038/one-step-forward-five-steps-back)

There's an urge in some people to want to fully understand 100% of the material they read, but that is *not the point of the first week*–or the first 2 weeks in that case ([relevant reading](http://blog.bloc.io/the-point-of-the-first-week)). You don't need to know everything because you *won't use everything*. The goal now is to make sure you know what you don't know. Get through the reading, feel comfortable with not fully grasping every topic covered (there are lots of them), and move on to your personal project.

[Ryan K. Week 2](http://rkrueger-rails.tumblr.com/post/23801499771/week2)

Ryan is one of the students who has progressed fastest, and he started out struggling with the exercises I did with him in Ruby. But his learning accelerated  because he realized what types of things he could learn, and then he really put in focused effort to learn. Having a resilient attitude will work wonders for your programming career.


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