5 Things 2020 Has Taught Us

For better or worse, 2020 has changed us—hopefully for the better! Looking back, we can see the lessons we’ve learned—about grit and determination, health and wellbeing, community and connection, patience and humility, learning and growth are lessons that will impact most of us for the rest of our lives.

It has been said that we don’t often know what we have until we lose it. 2020 has definitely been a year of a lot of loss—lost time, lost freedoms, lost community, lost jobs, lost lives—but it has also given us a lot. Here are five things we have learned, that will impact most of us for the rest of our lives.

Your Health and Wellbeing are Essential

Far too often we take our health and wellbeing for granted. Many of us don’t consider going to the doctor unless we are triaging a current issue. Not only has COVID shown us how vulnerable our health is with hundreds of thousands of individuals suffering and dying from the COVID virus, but even more of us are also suffering from mental and physical health issues related to COVID. Social distancing, isolation, screen fatigue, have all led to us finding our health suffering. This is why it is so important that we take a hard look at what we eat (and don’t eat) and our exercise (or lack thereof) play an impactful role in your mental and physical health. During a time when we are working, eating, playing from our homes, it’s a good time to reflect on eating and exercise habits.

Be grateful for your health, take time to exercise, drink water and eat well-balanced meals. Take time to rest, and get space to think. Put down the technology and find space to breathe.

We all need Connection and Community

If nothing else, COVID has taught us that social connection with others, whether in person or virtual, is vital to our physical and mental health. Social connection gives us a great sense of value and meaning where we are giving to others as well as receiving from them. This connection can reduce anxiety and depression, lead to higher self-worth, help us process our emotions, and even lead to improved physical health and immune systems. When we neglect our need to connect, we put our health at risk. Take the time to connect with others, schedule virtual happy hours, or social distance gatherings, but be sure to stay connected.

At Code Fellows, we see connection and community as vital to the learning process we provide. We not only help individuals learn the material being taught but provide the space to grow and develop as an individual by learning and connecting with others. Throughout the learning journey with Code Fellows, you can be sure you will build close bonds of friendship with your classmates as you all work to overcome obstacles together.

Be grateful for your friends, family and colleagues. Be intentional to connect with them, even if it means video calls and text messages, and be sure to let them know how valued they are. If you don’t have a strong community right now, know you’ve got us. Code Fellows is a welcoming community of people who can understand what you’re going through because we’ve been there before.

Challenging Times Require Patience and Humility

In a time filled with challenges that range from a global pandemic to racial injustices and systemic racism to political divisions, it’s too easy to forget to be humble and kind. It’s important to slow down, take a self-assessment, consider your blind spots and biases, and take the extra step to extend forgiveness and grace.

Here at Code Fellows, we are committed to providing a welcoming and inspiring community for all at Code Fellows, and so we have a code of conduct that we expect to be honored by staff, students, and guests. The overarching goal of our code of conduct is to always be kind. While kindness can be generally understood, kindness in a professional setting means (but is not limited to):

  • Be friendly and patient
  • Be welcoming
  • Be considerate
  • Give attribution, engage honestly
  • Be respectful
  • Be careful in the words that we choose
  • Try to understand why we disagree
  • Harassment and exclusionary behavior aren’t acceptable

Especially during times when divisions abound, we look for understanding and emphasize the importance of showing respect regardless of perspectives and beliefs. Understanding is the avenue to growth.

Grit and Determination will get you through Hard Times

Your ability to work hard, endure, struggle, fail, push through, fail, and get back up again is key to determining your long-term happiness and success. Many of us have faced and are still facing a mountain of challenges that 2020 has thrown our way. From health challenges and isolation to job cuts and job loss, and even the death of loved ones. Looking at all of these challenges it’s easy to give up, throw in the towel, or simply chalk up 2020 as a loss. I want to encourage you instead to persevere, to push through the challenge. If you have been around Code Fellows for any length of time you know that we are big believers in adopting a growth mindset. In fact, we believe in it so much that we encourage all of our students and instructors to read Mindset by Carol Dweck and if you haven’t read it yet, I would recommend you pick up a copy as soon as possible.

Likewise, I want to encourage you to see obstacles, not as roadblocks or limitations but rather opportunities to persevere and push through, knowing that you will come out the other side a much stronger, and successful person.

Use Every Obstacle as a Chance to Learn and Grow

We can’t control everything that happens to us, what challenges we will face, or what obstacles we will come up against, but we can control our attitude, what we do about the obstacles. When faced with an obstacle in life we have the opportunity to see it as something that is bigger than us or something that is presenting an opportunity to learn and grow. This year we have seen many of these obstacles come our way and just when we think it’s going to end, something else happens.

Taking the time to reflect on what you can do in these moments is often the difference between a major setback and an opportunity to reevaluate your goals. Looking at obstacles as a chance to learn and grow will prepare you for a brighter and better future.

At Code Fellows, we help individuals transform their careers and life through tech education, but more than that we are passionate about teaching individuals to be lifelong learners. Igniting a passion for learning and potential for growth is what gets us out of bed every day!

At Code Fellows, we believe in you: who you are, where you are, as you are. Your hopes and dreams are our hopes and dreams; your doubts and fears are our doubts and fears. We are in it with you—but it’s hard work and requires a tremendous amount of determination, vulnerability, and collaboration.

Coding isn’t just for the elite. It’s for all of us: the second-lifer who wants to learn a new skill; the veteran looking for an opportunity to translate their military grit into a different career; the woman looking to shatter the paradigm and make the industry a better place; the wrong-turn taker looking for a second chance and a brighter future.

If you put in the effort, you can rest assured that we are here to support you. And when the going gets tough—because it will—you’ve got us. A welcoming community of people who know exactly what you’re going through because we’ve been there before. A welcoming community that has one job: to help you unlock your potential.

Technology needs more individuals from diverse backgrounds working to make this world a better place. Let’s do it together.

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