Launchcode 2019 SQL Channel

It Was a Very Code Summer

I’m that weird person from the Midwest who loves winter. It all started with the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics and the Miracle on Ice. My family hunkered around the 24-inch color tv set to cheer the US Ice Hockey team to victory over the USSR. Those games made me into a fan of winter sports, including and especially ice hockey. Let’s Go Blues!

Back in those days, St. Louis winters seemed a lot more cold and snowy than they do now. Our family home was situated on one of the highest points in eastern Jefferson County. We made good use of our ‘mountain’ when it snowed. Our neighbors on the hill above us had Snurfer’s (precursor to the snowboard thanks, BTW, Jake Burton Carpenter). We borrowed them frequently. They were much lighter to carry back up the mountain than our old steel rail sleds. Our ice rink for good old-time hockey was the frozen slough which was between our house and the Mississippi.

As an adult, I live for winter. I don’t mind driving in the snow, shoveling the drive and sidewalks, and taking walks the gray, low-sun days. I’ve done my share of ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country trekking. Steinberg is my rink of choice here in STL. The cold never bothers me, you just need the right gear and good, comfortable skates and boots. One of my very favorite things to do in St. Louis in the winter is to walk the Botanical Garden. It’s as if you are part of an artist’s painting when there is snow on the ground and the waterfalls are frozen.

I barely tolerate summer. I do what I need to do with the yard and garden to get through it. My girlfriends and I lounge poolside on Saturdays and that’s fun. It’s just so hard for me to stand the heat, humidity and dry days. So in June 2019, when LaunchCode sent out their call for applicants to the Coder_girl program, I decided to apply. Not just to get through the summer, but to do something meaningful with my time that would hopefully help me actually like summer again.

So, I submitted my application and my letter stating why I wanted to get in. I sweated through the test which I thought was hard. I’d wanted to participate in the Coder_girl program since it was a Meetup, but hadn’t made the commitment. Now, I had the time and space in my life to do it, and hoped that I would get accepted.

LaunchCode is an amazing not-for-profit institution that offers free tech education and training in code and programming languages. There isn’t enough space here to talk about all of the good that launch code does not only for the workforce but for the community as well. Coder_girl is a program specifically designed for women who want to learn how to code.

On July 5 I received the email that I was accepted but on the waitlist. With that news, I actually got chills even though it was summer. I was on to something. I learned that I was in the SQL channel for the cohort and I was thrilled as I love data. Even though I was on the waitlist, I was told to attend the introduction and complete the documentation as if I were a student. So chills and thrills…it was my winter of summer.

The first class of the cohort was July 13, and that’s the day that I learned that I was an official student. And so began my 22-week journey through T-SQL in the capable hands of Jessi, Kathi, Sharon, Kevin, and Ryan. Being part of the program made me forget all about the misery of summer. There was a ton of homework; there were hours and hours of studying. There were tests, sometimes more than one—every week. I didn’t watch television or play Candy Crush for six months. Instead, I learned about joins, stored procedures, aggregate functions, and how code is used to control the results in slot machines. Amazing stuff, for sure. I looked forward to Wednesdays, even.

My final project was a database of snacks from around the world. (I’ll write about that some other time.) One of the happiest days of my life was when I presented my project and learned that I had passed the class. Woot.

It was a code, code summer of 2019. I need to mention that my classmates were awesome, too. We bonded over blood, sweat, and SQL. It was a great experience and I’m grateful to LaunchCode for providing the opportunity to grow and learn. Graduation was January 8, 2020, and time to celebrate!

Now, there’s still some winter left in this old town, so I’ll be putting on my Bauer’s as soon as I get caught up on sleep, Netflix, and finish polishing up my brand new database.

When you get a moment, checkout LaunchCode.


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