Advice for New Epicodus Students
I recently had a friend start at the code school program (Epicodus) I am just about to complete. I sent him an email with some advice that I wished I would have know prior to starting. Now, some of this may be a bit unique to this particular program, as Epicodus does pair programming, as well as using a flipped classroom model. But perhaps some of it will be useful to folks attending other schools as well.
In (mostly) unfiltered form, and no particular order:
TAKE BREAKS. Maybe this won't be a problem for you, but for me, in the first couple of weeks I just wanted to plow through everything and not stop. It was really exhausting. Take breaks. Pace it out.
You are not expected to finish every assignment each day. They are trying to keep you busy and coding for 8 hrs so intentionally give a lot of work.
The Monday through Thursday assignments are not graded, they are just practice. Only Friday's is "graded" and it's just pass/fail/get comments.
Thursday, at least in Intro, was the hardest day most times. You kind of put together everything you're learning that week. It can sometimes be overwhelming, but rest assured that the Friday's individual assignment is always much easier. It is like, "Did you understand the absolute basics of the week?"
You will get stuck on things, very stuck. Googling will help, but don't be afraid to get help from your classmates. Chances are some people will have gotten further than you and they can help you. And it will be easy to identify the "smart and also nice-and-helpful" people quickly. But don't be afraid to put in a queue for the teacher either. People spend too much time bashing their heads into walls - and half the time you just need a second pair of eyes to catch a silly mistake.
No one actually pays attention to the code pair suggestions. Just find someone who doesn't have a partner each day.
It is easy to get a one track mind about something and leave your partner in the dust (or them do that to you). Especially in Intro when people are still figuring the whole pair-programming thing out. Always cue your partner in on what you're doing.
Don't be worried about whether you know enough yet. The program is designed to build your knowledge from the absolute ground up.
They harp on this a lot, but it is true. Break problems down in to simple steps and go through them one at a time. While it's good to have an overview of how you're going to attack a problem, it is very easy to try to implement or think about things that don't even apply yet because you have yet build out the absolute most basic feature. It can really screw you up. Start small and build when tackling something complex.
It may be helpful to not look ahead to the next day's work. I did that a lot and would find myself thinking about how I was going to do the next day's assignments, and it made it harder for my mind to rest.
I could go on, but ten is probably enough to chew on.
Hope this helps!