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July 25, 2019

Finding bliss in moving fast

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With the wind flapping against my body and nervous jitters coursing up and down my limbs, I took one more deep breath and slid to the edge of the plane. I heard the man strapped to my back count to two, and before I heard the next number, we were plummeting toward the earth. 

matt skydiving

Matthew Tomaselli, iX Cape Town 2019

The one thought that resonated through all my fears during my skydiving experience was how this particular leap of faith paralleled my decision to take on the iXperience challenge.

As someone who is deathly afraid of heights and dreads the inevitable motion sickness of roller coasters, skydiving wasn’t the obvious choice of activity for how to spend my weekend.

As a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major (“PPE”) and avoider of anything STEM, taking the Full Stack Coding course did not seem like an obvious fit either. But in both cases, beyond the fear, anxiety, and doubt as to whether I could do it, I found something truly exhilarating, fun, and more than worthwhile. Certainly, I needed a little push to conquer front-end and back-end web development in just a few short weeks, just as I needed a little push to get out of that airplane. That push gave me a fast-pace but exciting experience from which I learned a lot about stepping outside of my comfort zone to grow as a student and a person. And yes, like skydiving, the Capetonian winter is a slightly windier and chillier than I initially expected. 

ix campus views

Views from the iX classrooms

I came to Cape Town with my fair share of doubts. I had never written a single line of code before. The one thing I did know was just how tricky web and mobile development can be, and the idea that I was going to acquire the skills to build both the front-end and back-end of applications in just a few short weeks seemed unrealistic at best. As the course began though, my worries were quickly assuaged thanks to a dynamic and pragmatic teaching environment.

The iX classroom provided intimate and engaging lectures from an industry professional (and wiz for that matter) coupled with hands-on TA assistance for when things moved a bit too quickly.

The abstract theories were taught, but not without the context for where all of this content can be tangibly applied in an increasingly globalized and technology-driven workforce. 

I quickly found confidence that I could conquer any of the projects ahead in the course or internship that once seemed impossible to me. I felt rejuvenated to finally be in a dynamic, fast-paced learning environment that made me ecstatic about my career prospects, and I certainly felt refreshed when I heard peers who were computer science majors echo this sentiment that the course content was more pragmatic and applicable than what they’d done before in University.

Like any worthwhile and challenging experience, iX asks you to push yourself, but just like being in free-fall, you find a meaningful bliss in moving fast and unlocking your potential. 

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