By Izabella Matheson

When I first heard the words, “Week of Code” uttered by my teacher, admittedly, I groaned. I’d heard the circulating tale of this so called “week of code” from my classmates quite some time before the announcements of its arrival from the teachers had begun. Then, I had denied the Week of Code’s existence because, well, it was just a rumor, and rumors typically turn up false. However, now that I was hearing it from authoritative figures, it was painfully clear that this “Week of Code” was one of the few accurate stories passed along between classmates.

When I got over my initial despair upon the confirmation of the “Week of Coding,” I began to actually consider that, Hey, maybe this isn’t exactly what I think it’s going to be. However, formerly, when I heard the word coding, my mind had immediately flashed to an image of me slouched over a computer, bags under my eyes, fingers aggressively bashing the keys as a series of 0’s and 1’s whirred across the screen, so I was stuck on this presumption of mine. It would be safe to say I saw coding in a pretty unappealing light, and to think, a whole week dedicated to it. Unbearable.

Then, a couple of days before the Week of Code began, I made a decision. I decided I was going to have a more positive outlook on the whole concept of coding; instead of just bracing the week, I was going to embrace it, if you will. After all, I hadn’t had much experience, if any, with coding, so obviously my idea of it would be skewed. When the week finally rolled around, I felt a little more hopeful.

Once in PLTW, the class we would be coding in, my partner and I began working. We followed the teacher’s instructions, visiting the website with the coding program, and we made an account that would document our creations. Upon seeing the site, I was a little shocked. It actually looked fun. When we opened up the program, I was even more surprised upon discovering that this coding we were doing was filled with cute animations and backdrops, letters, paint tools- exactly the opposite of what I had expected.

My partner and I read through the fairly simple guide on how to navigate the program, then began experimenting with it. We placed a large, bold “I” and “E” for our initials on the templet, then messed around with the actual coding part, which was actually quite simple and not at all 0 and 1 filled. We set up our letters to spin and move around the screen on an infinitive loop. However, that’s not exactly what happened.

The “I” began to circle around the screen, which I guess was kind of our intention. The “E,” however, stayed put, twitching rapidly. It wasn’t even spinning. It was twitching unbearably harshly, which sent us into a fit of laughter. It was then I realized that not only had I just learned about coding, but I had also thoroughly enjoyed myself.

I know that typically when we hear the agonizing phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover,” we likely roll our eyes and dismiss the advice, taking it as just another cliche. However, the week of coding has taught me that there really is something to the statement. We shouldn’t judge something so harshly without experiencing it first, because perhaps it will exceed our assumptions. I thought coding would be the most mind numbingly dull thing ever, and it turned out to be not only entertaining, but also interesting. Don’t let your previously formed opinion of something hold you back from trying it, because you could potentially miss out on something fun and possibly even life-changing.

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