I was accepted to the Recurse Center a few days ago, and in the spirit of self-reflection decided to write up a little about my experiences. Since I intend to write up my experience of being there as well, it’s also just good practice.

What is RC?

That turns out to a bit hard to explain, and since I haven’t yet been I’m not well positioned to even try. I’ll let an alumni give it a shot though! Suffice to say that it is sort of structured like a bootcamp but also not at all structured like a bootcamp.

I first found out about the existence of such a thing from a blog post. The author is exhuberant that a custom operating system she built “doesn’t crash” when she presses any key. The sheer scope of such a project amazed me, and the celebration of small victories was infectious. I started picking through the rest of the blog’s archives to try to find out what this incredible place she worked on this was.

Following the White Rabbit

I read a little about RC from their own website. It was interesting, like nothing I’d ever considered before. I talked in very general terms about it with my family… I soon found myself captivated by the notion that I could get “dramatically better” at programming while in the company of incredibly smart and highly motivated people.

I read more and thought more. Was it rational to try to go to NYC for three months, just for this? RC seemed to have a really good track record on jobs-placement, but I was pretty confident I could land something satisfactory anyway. Was I ready to go back to the USA at all?

Why Not?

Without having high expectations (imposter syndrome?), I decided to apply anyway. The written application wasn’t particularly long, so I had little to lose.

I didn’t anticipate losing sleep over it.

The first interview was exactly what their documentation said it was: a conversation. We talked about my background, life at RC, and the code sample I’d sent them, from last year’s Advent of Code. My interviewer had written a bit of Go, but I got to explain channels, which was pretty exciting.

The second interview was effectively a 30 minute Pair Programming session, starting from a small lisp parser I’d also written in Go. Together we added an interpreter for the parsed lisps that could evaluate nested addition, like so: (+ 1 (+ 3 4)) == 8.

After three rounds I was confident but reserved. I knew that everything I’d read indicated that RC was a good fit, but had I adequately communicated this fit?

And Then?

And then I recieved a beatiful email inviting me to join!

Somewhat sadly I still need to put off proceeding to pick my batch, since my summer plans are still undefined. But to NYC I will go sometime this year, in the hopes to improve my craft and meet others doing the same thing.