On Showing Up To School In Your Underwear, or, My One Day at Recurse Center

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2024-05-14 00:00:04

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Fall 1 2020 batch of the Recurse Center, during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, I only attended for one day. Still, keeping with the spirit of the times, I thought I would write a retrospective. Time to look back on my RC journey!

I had heard of the Recurse Center some years ago, through (I believe) Dan Luu’s blog. The basic idea is that RC is a “self-directed, community-driven educational retreat for programmers based in New York City”. My mental model for what this looked like is something like this: people from various walks of life come together in a common space to do cool/fun software stuff. Longer term or overarching goals vary somewhat from person to person (e.g. some may want a career change, some want to goof off, some want to learn something very specific), but broadly speaking the participants are there to learn, play, and improve as programmers. As a business, RC operates via supplying recruiters with a pool of talented and motivated job candidates. But for the participants itself it is free, and there is no particular pressure to take a job. Sounds pretty awesome!

Thus I thought the Recurse Center had a lot to offer above and beyond an independent sabbatical. But it’s not easy to make it out there to NYC.

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