It’s happening! Recurse Center is underway!

One of the values at RC is self-reflection, so in that spirit I plan on releasing one post a week about my experience here.

The Structure

“I did this, then I did that, then another thing happened. Oh! And then there was one of those! What a week!”

I could happily ramble in these posts, but it will probably be more beneficial to keep a consistent structure.

A while ago, I was catching up with a friend and they asked me:

“How are you doing emotionally, spiritually and physically?”

I loved how wellness could be broken down into these different categories. So, from that inspiration, I have decided on these 4 categories to reflect within.

  • Emotional: Maintaining a positive emotional state.
  • Social: Meeting new people. Putting myself in new situations. Accepting invitations.
  • Intellectual: Tackling challenging problems. Learning new things. Progressing in my work.
  • Physical: Eating healthy. Exercising. Taking care of myself.

These are loosely based off the Six Dimensions of Wellness. I’ve simply collapsed Occupational/Intellectual and Spiritual/Emotional.

  1. Social
  2. Intellectual
  3. Occupational -> Intellectual
  4. Emotional
  5. Spiritual -> Emotional
  6. Physical

Enough explanation. Let’s do this! 🎉


First week at RC was a great experience. The space, the values, the people, the energy…gah 💕!

I don’t think I’ve ever been around so many awesome people in such a small space. I could list off all the adjectives to describe these people with, but I’ve already done that.

These are the feels for the end of the week.

Social 🍻

This was one of my biggest reasons for coming to RC and it hasn’t disappointed.

At RC there seems to be a culture of putting out invitations. Whether that’s to go grab lunch, pair on some problem or go to an improv show. People are always putting out offers and organizing events.

I love that and have been trying to accept as many of those as possible.

Activities during the day:

  • Haskell talk
  • Machine learning talk
  • Lightning talks
  • Code Dojo
  • Pair programming
  • Feelings check-in
  • Regular check-ins
  • Destroy All Software viewing
  • Group lunch runs
  • Group coffee runs

Some things I got to do this week during the evenings:

  • Group viewing of the presidential debate
  • Improv workshop
  • Improv shows
  • Games night
  • Group drinks

It’s been nice having so many activities always on the table. I hope to reconnect with my own interests and share some of them in the upcoming weeks (dancing, cooking, improv, cycling, exploring, etc.).

At the same time, I fear going off to my own events and missing out on time with RC people … #QualityProblems 😌.

Intellectual 🤔

Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing down all sorts of random things to build. At this moment, I think a lot of my time will be spent hacking on little tools and services.

  • Improving the EpubPress backend.
  • Improving the EpubPress clients.
  • Improving my website/blog.
  • Contributing to a content extraction library.
  • Contributing to the epub packaging library.
  • Creating a test suite for content extraction libraries.
  • Creating a tool for reflecting on random notes/journal entries.
  • Creating a code generator.
  • Learning Haskell and writing a side project in it.

A lot of this stuff is very specific and doesn’t really fall under any umbrella. I’m a bit worried how I’ll be able to collaborate with others. It would be easier if I was getting involved with machine learning/cs fundamentals/distributed computing/etc as there seems to be more interest in those topics.

In any case, I’ve already been able to help a few people with their projects. That’s been a great source of collaboration, and I’m sure others will be able to contribute to my projects.

Emotional 😇👿

Despite all this wonder, I have felt emotionally drained the past week.

A few things:

New York is intense
I’ve never lived in such a bustling city. Getting around and dodging cars is a bit of a mental feat in and of itself.

Not having my own space
My apartment wasn’t available this week. A friend from Vancouver graciously put me up for the week, but it also meant I never really had alone time this week. Quiet time is important, especially after entire days of wanting to talk non-stop to the people around me. (Thanks again for hosting Stewart! 🙂)

Adapting to the RC environment
RC is a super positive space. There are social rules to follow, and a room full of people willing to hold you accountable. I love the social rules, but will also admit that I break them on occasion when not being mindful.

I’ve been trying to remain extra aware this week, while at the same time not overthinking and holding back. It’s a balance that takes some getting used to.

Expectation management
The supportiveness of RC has resulted in a bit of increased expectations. People are generally so onboard with ideas/requests that I’ve begun expecting that to always be the case. Then when I put something out and don’t have it enthusiastically received, it feels like a failure.

Sending a general request for people to talk to me about past projects and getting no responses.
Sharing a past project and nobody commenting.
Sharing a learning resource and getting no response.

I also asked a friend to hang out and was told that November looked like a promising time.

These responses are all fine, but sometimes my brain needs a reality check. I want to be a person who puts offers out into the world without expectations on how they will be received. It’s something I need to remind myself before putting myself out there.

“This might not be of interest to others. That’s okay 🙂.”

I’ve added a section to my journal to track un-accepted offers. They are vulnerability trophies. 🏆

Restraining enthusiasm/extroversion
The people aspect is one of the things I’m most excited for at RC. At the same time, I know that might not be true for everyone. I’ve felt ready to work and chat with everyone, but that level of enthusiasm can be really jarring for some.

Related to above, I’m trying not to run around putting myself out there until I know others are looking for that.

Alright, no more feels! That's enough 😅!

Physical 🏋️

Back in 2014/2015 I was doing great at this.

  • Cooking all my meals
  • Exercising 3 times a weeks
  • Getting 💪

Then I was in the hospital for a week.
Then I was in the hospital again.
Then I went to South America for 6 months and have been eating takeout/pasta almost ever since.

So…not great 🤒.

This is my first time with healthy stability in over a year. Would love to take advantage of that.

I have two cook books I want to start working through: The Food Lab, Genius Recipes

My goal is to cook all the recipes in one of them.

Will also need to look into gyms this week and see if there’s any affordable options in this city.

…Or I can just do chin ups in the subway every morning 🙊.

Random - but sitting at computers all day is TERRIBLE for you.

Going to take advantage of the standing desks and try not to let non-stop time on my laptop curve my spine too much.

The </End>

I has been an emotional, albeit, great week. Can’t wait to see what Week[1] has in store! 😍