By Nicholas Hunt-WalkerApril 25, 2017

Pain vs. Suffering: An Open Letter from Code Fellows' Python Instructor

So you want to learn Python. That’s awesome! However, if you’re going to learn Python at Code Fellows, there are a few things you need to know.

Over 10 weeks in Code 401: Advanced Software Development in Python, you will learn far more than most people learn in two years at a university. You’ll learn software and web app development, programming best practices, and the Python language overall.

This won’t be easy.

You will feel the effects of this rigorous training in all spheres of life: physical, mental, and emotional.

You will feel pain—the pain of growth. It won’t always feel good.

You won’t always feel good.

You will be pushed mentally, wrestling your way through problems that you had only just heard about a few hours beforehand.

You will have to forge your own path toward your own unique solutions.

You will have to research for hours on end, fleshing out the skeleton that we discuss in class, piling information on top of application so that you can reach your goals.

You will be pushed emotionally, constantly confronted with your own lack of understanding of a topic.

You will constantly have to figure out how to collaborate with new people and deal with their (and your own) emotional quirks.

You will be constantly pushed far outside of your comfort zone, with the expectation that you will survive for the next push forward.

You will be pushed physically, and the consecutive hours of staring at your screen will take its toll.

You will lose sleep, forget to exercise, and feel exhausted, all while being filled with information day after day.

These are all painful.

They are also the ways you will grow and give birth to your career.

All growth comes with some degree of pain as you are pulled out of your comfort zone. The greater the growth, the greater the pain. But pain is a good thing, as long as that pain helps you achieve the growth that you’re aiming for.

Even better than that, this pain is only temporary. It is the labor that you need to work through that will launch you forward into the next phase of your life.

Do not confuse this with suffering.

Suffering is pain without purpose. Pain with no higher goal. Pain with no dreams, no ambition, no aspiration. Suffering is dependent on the story that we layer on top of our pain.

As you work through feeling the pain of growth over 10 weeks in class, consider heavily the story that you attach to it. What is your perspective? Why are you doing this? Do you want what comes at the end of this journey?

Are you doing this for you?

As you experience pain, seek the remedy! Ask questions that bridge the gap between what you know and what you need to be able to do. Research. Build your resources and your community. Learn to lean on your peers; share your pain so that you all can prosper in even greater ways.

Pain experienced in isolation quickly becomes needless pain, overflowing into the realm of suffering.

If the pain is inevitable, find the common thread that makes the pain worthwhile—that puts the pain into perspective.

You’re here because you chose to invest in a different life.

A better life.

You’re here so that you can become not just a competent Python developer, but a spectacular artisan of software, with Python as one of your primary tools.

That pain that you feel? Those are the callouses that you build while learning to use that tool.

It’s not easy, nor is it common. This is why such skilled people are highly valued in the industry.

You are building your value.

You are experiencing the pain of growth.

Live it, love it, and take it forward into your future as a full-stack software developer capable of meeting all challenges with a clear head and a strong heart.

Welcome to Code 401.