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Ask HN: How am I supposed to start over as an amnesiac ex-software developer?
109 points by Tabula_Rasa on Apr 13, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 57 comments
I’m a late 20s female ex-software developer. What happened? Well, not going to go into details, but I ended up with retrograde amnesia about a year ago. The memory of the last 4 years was most heavily affected, which sadly were the most prolific for me in terms of my graduate education and job-wise - I’d worked my way up to an actual developer job, and was doing quite well for myself.

It’s been an incredibly difficult year, and I’ve really had very few advocates along the way. My past employer failed to communicate with me properly post-amnesia, and I’m currently in bureaucratic hell trying to work with my University to see if I can retake the classes that I now can no longer remember.

I’ll often get something like, oh, jump on CodeAcademy/etc., get right back into things! But it’s not quite that simple. It’s - for back of a better word - downright PAINFUL, and I feel like I need more support going forward.

I feel like the best options for me would be some kind of class, workshop, or internship, but I’m having trouble finding the right fit. It’s going to be hard for me trying to find the right level, given that I’ll probably be rolling my eyes at how simple some things are but also getting stuck on relatively basic things until they click again.

An internship could be great for me, but I don’t have any contacts, let alone any contacts who would be able to place me at a company that understood my situation. For example, how am I supposed to explain a resume that I know nothing about? It’s pretty unavoidable, and I’d need a company that was understanding about the situation.

I just want to make it clear I’m not looking on advice on how to deal with the burden of this, but any advice you would have for me to get back into the field given these bizarre circumstances. Maybe there’s some avenue that I’m just not realizing? Thanks so much!




My advice: Take it slow. You express that jumping onto CodeAcademy and such is painful, that's probably because you are overexerting your brain. Programming is a skill that takes years to develop. I understand this is extremely frustrating, but you can't expect to relearn something you learned over the course of 4 years in just a few months.

People who are good at programming often forget how bad they were at it the first few years they did it.

The most receptive mind according to researchers (the violinists research) is one that is relaxed and well rested. If you pace yourself and do things you're uncomfortable with no longer than 2-3 hours per day you'll grow faster than anyone around you.

If however you do more than that hoping somehow to make up for lost time, I fear there's a good chance you'll be let down and perhaps even burned out. Be careful and healthy :)

I don't know where you live, in The Netherlands you could probably get a psychiatrist confirm you are currently unfit for work you were educated for and receive income from the government. I personally would do that and use the time to take it slow.. I think.. I hope :)


Thank you! Yeah, I've taken this past year for myself to figure things out and go slow.

I'm in the US and sadly things aren't that simple - memory loss in and of itself is not grounds for any kind of financial support since it doesn't qualify as disability.

I do really wish that I was in Europe since I've found the lack of proper medical care I've received shocking and I feel that perhaps the government or local programs would offer support that just isn't available here.


Are you sure you can't qualify in the US? A quick Google search for "memory loss disability" suggests you may have some options. A recent story on NPR [1] suggests the examining MD has some discretion in deciding if you qualify for disability. I hope things get better soon.

[1] http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/


Perhaps Step #1 should be to find a way to move to Europe.


If you can afford to do so, hire a 1:1 tutor, so you can work faster or slower as needs be, and focus on the areas you need to fill in. One size fits all coursework is not going to help you at the moment. (You may be able to get someone to mentor you for free, too.)

A story, to give you hope:

When I was a college student I tutored a woman who was in much the same situation as yourself. She had escaped an abusive marriage where she was severely beaten, and as a result of the head trauma she had completely lost math. I mean everything: she couldn't remember how to add 2+2.

I tutored her twice a week for a couple of years. Some things came back easily, and some things were astonishingly difficult, and not the things you might have expected. As time went on it got easier and easier: relearning was easier than learning it the first time around. Eventually she didn't need me any more.

She got it, and and got into college, and is now a registered nurse. Best of luck to you.


Can anyone suggest resources for finding a 1:1 programming tutor?

A great programmer is not necessarily a great tutor.


Retrograde amnesia doesn't impair implicit memory. Priming effects are still shown for amnesiac people.

This means that you'll be able to relearn your skills much more rapidly the second time around.

As far as the best way to do that, I would give the same advice that is given to anyone: find something you would enjoy working on and try to have fun working at it.


I have experience this and do think it will help me out. It also does put me in a weird spot starting as a complete beginner though, say in a basic class, due to this "advantage".


Given what you've written, I guess I have a few questions. I think the idea of an internship (or maybe apprenticeship) sounds about right, but obviously there has to be a "fit".

1) What was your area of expertise before the amnesia?

2) What do you want to do when you've recovered your abilities? (this might be a good time to switch if you've had your eye on something).

3) Where are you?

4) Would you be comfortable working with a (small) team of people?

5) Would you be comfortable being the subject of research?

I don't want to make any representations for my employer (a major university), but after almost 30 years in industry, I've been amazed at both the positive and negative difference between a university and a company. I think a university environment would be a good fit for you. One of the positives I've seen is an amazing willingness to adapt to a person's needs. There are all sorts of classes close at hand (and you can audit them for free), and I think you could probably find a "champion" in someone who is interested in the process of rehabilitating those with your condition.

I imagine that most other major universities would be a similar environment. Ours even has an office that helps students, staff and faculty adapt to their disabilities (or adapts the workplace as needed). If you want to stay in your current area, try the university that's local to you. If you're interested in moving for the right opportunity, I can try to find someone at work to see if something can be arranged. I'm sure there are 30 others here at HN that can do the same at other universities.


Let me get back to you about your questions. Still not sure how public I want to go with this.

I mentioned briefly in the intro about the issues with my own University. In theory I think you're correct about the difference between a university and company environment, adaptability-wise, but in my own experience, I've been really shocked by the treatment I've been given by my University. I've spoken to my old advisor and a number of departments trying to figure out what I could do to start classes again. They're even getting tripped up on things like, what does the registrar do when someone takes two classes and gets two satisfactory grades? I actually don't believe auditing is free, and they've been telling me that were I to go this route, I wouldn't be able to take exams, homework, and so forth.

Sadly the whole experience has really turned me off to the University route, well, at least in my former program, but were I to figure things out finance-wise, switching fields seems like a pretty good way for me to go right now. I haven't particularly got my eye on anything, but at least starting fresh would free me from some of the issues that are holding me back.


If you can't audit in person, in a lot of cases you can audit courses online. Many university CS programs publish all their course materials on their department websites. Then there are the MOOCs--Massive Open Online Courses, like Coursera, edX, and Udacity. Coursera in particular has some great programming classes right now.


So is there any chance you might get some of your memory back? Because you may be better off switching to a different, but possibly complementary, field. And if you manage to regain some of your memory you'll have that too.


What about attending a new University with an empty slate?


Don't Panic.

When you start a new job, you'll always have a 2-6 month period of getting to know your colleagues, platform and library stack. Use that time to learn. At the end of it, you'll be back to where you were.

Remember you're in software. An industry that where everything changes every 5 years. After you have a baseline affinity for software & technology, what matters is how fast you can learn and adapt.

Me? I've taught myself everything I know. I moved from UK to Holland at 26 so had to start again (I didn't speak the language, and don't live in Amsterdam - so that was a problem).

Now I'm 32, married, speak fluent Dutch, and have an awesome job working at a start-up in the enterprise space (think Meteor for grown-ups).

Where are you based?


As a software developer, university education is not particularly necessary beyond having the degree, which you still have, so I wouldn't worry about that.

As for relearning programming, well, just program something, while reading tutorials, books and courses as needed.

You can either program something that fancies you, something that you believe can be monetized, hack on an open source project or possibly do freelance work.

The only general CS knowledge you need to know that you won't automatically learn by just programming is general algorithms and data structures, which you can easily learn by reading the classic "Introduction to Algorithms" by Cormen, L., R, S. or similar books, or looking at online course materials for a class.

As for the "resume you know nothing about", why not just ask ex colleagues tell you about what you did with them, etc.?

Of course however it strongly depends on your exact background, personality, condition, etc.


For courses, are you talking about undergraduate or graduate courses? Could you approach the profs directly and asking them if you could just sit in their classes? I did that and audited two graduate level courses this year... Whether you sit there or not doesn't really affect the profs in any way as long as there are seats in the class.. They are usually pretty fine with those things, especially given your condition.


Stupid advice maybe, but I think that if you make a reddit AMA you'll get a lot of attention, and if you are lucky enough you'll get someone who can help you (like offering an internship).


No, not stupid at all, actually I've thought about it. A friend suggested it to me, but I'm not sure if I'd ever be comfortable with it. Not to trash reddit or anything, but I find the posting community here really awesome, and would probably have a pretty low tolerance for any trolling that would pop up there or pretty much anywhere else. It was hard even posting this and I'm not quite ready to "go public" because things may blow up and get out of hand.

It's kind of funny though, because there's at least one case (can't find the link right now) of some guy making a totally BS claim about amnesia in order to get attention and a book deal. A lot of news places ran the story and as someone with the real deal and more than a lay person's knowledge of memory and language, it was obvious to me that he was making it up! I don't even think about it these days as so unusual and attention worthy, since people - either due to being self-involved or discomfort with the situation - often don't really even react when I tell them about it.


What is your (current) stack and where are you based? I know that my company is currently looking for software developers roles in Europe, so maybe I can help (my email is in my profile).

In the meantime, if you are currently unemployed, I would suggest to code something. It will help you rebuild your skills, and you will have something to show to get another job.

Good luck!


If you have brain damage you will probably have to start all over again, maybe it will be easier this time, and the good thing is you are already officially recognized as a software developer so you don't have to care about grades, colleges fees and learning unnecessary and/or outdated crap because you need the credits, plus your working experience will make your CV look awesome, even though you don't remember any of that and you will have to learn it all again if you want to perform as you used to, of course.

On the other hand, if your amnesia is not the result of a physical injury, but a psychological trauma, you should focus on working on your issues with a good psychiatrist: your well being and sanity are far more important than your career, and maybe forgetting all that is your brain's way to tell you it wasn't doing you any good and it wasn't a good idea to learn it in the first place.


In theory, I've always understood that Math is Programming is Math. Or at least I accepted it as true. But I swear, it only really "clicked" for me a few weeks ago. I've been programming for almost 20 years, and I feel like I just joined the party.

It made me think - how different would my programming and math experiences have been if I'd "gotten" it sooner?

So if I were you, I would stop focusing on programming for right now, and dive as deep as you can into math. Its another path to some of the same epiphanies, and perhaps you won't feel so much like you're wasting time reaching a point you'd already attained before. Climb a different hill instead.

And don't forget that life is about learning, not what you already know. None of us ever stop learning. There is no beginning and no end, indeed there is no path. Only Now :)


I met an artist in New York who had her studio in a basement and got, I think, Mercury poisoning and lost her memory. She told me that she had all these photographic prints and she doesn't remember making any of them, but they're hers, so she was mounting a gallery show with them.

She seemed strangely relaxed about it so I almost didn't believe her. Maybe she had just dealt with enough already.

Just an anecdote for you.

If it is painful for you to relearn then you might consider changing to a different field. But you'll know yourself better if that's worth the start up time. Probably the knowledge will come back after you push through the resistance.


I found a bunch of old love-letters in my house, kind of like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I thought they were kind of funny, so I can be relaxed about it :)

That sounds like a pretty different experience though. Honestly the best way to explain it that I can think of, is imagine that you used to be some Gold Metal Olympic runner, and now you're fully paralyzed and slowly recovering. It's just humiliating and frustrating to take these baby steps when you know that you have this past standard to look up to. You want to be happy for your friends, who are running local races, even jogging, but seeing them pass you by while you're still just hobbling is so, so, painful.

The different field is a really possible idea. I guess I'm just hindered by the fact that I apparently enjoyed my job, I was good at it, and I still have a lot of technical knowledge that wormed itself into procedural memory...I could find jobs well suited for me and jobs that were flexible, and I was intellectually stimulated. I don't know if I could say that for other jobs.

I don't know if the memory will "come back" as such, but from past experience I've been a lot faster picking old things up. Just getting past this block is what's hard.


Part of it is learning to forgive yourself and another part is framing your situation in the right light. Essentially, you may no longer be up to gold medal standards and that's ok because that's just for now. It's also perfectly ok to be frustrated. But then you have to to think about whether you are doing well for where you are now because that's what matters.

You can also try picturing it as a treasure hunt. You have buried all this hidden treasure (technical knowledge), but the map you left yourself got washed in the laundry so now you have to go around piecing it together, but hey, every once in awhile, there is treasure!


RA has few "fun" causes. Sorry you had/have one of them. Many of them are very recoverable, so hopefully that ends up being your path.

My personal greatest fear is have cancer, have the executive function portion of my brain destroyed by chemo, then survive. I empathize strongly with your situation here

If your former employer had LTD insurance, you may still be able to qualify for it. Look into that for financial support.

Look up your old professors directly, explain what happened. Explain why you can't recognize them, then just ask them to audit the course again. They'll remember you, and will likely offer something.

Additionally, bring yourself up on exceedingly new technologies (ember, helios, etc), that NO one has experience in. Then when you're someone who knows all the latest stuff, rather than someone who forgot some slightly stale stuff.


Doctors were initially telling me that I'd "recover" within 6 months, whatever that meant - I imagined myself suddenly just having everything come back to me like a lightning bolt 6 months out on the dot - but whatever they meant doesn't seem to quite be the case. I've pieced together some things due to a combination of experience, facts, and slight memory jogging, but after this far out it's pretty clear to me that a lot is just lost for good. The good thing is that I don't seem to have any additional memory impairments, and I didn't end up with antrograde amnesia!

Sadly the lack of informing me about LTD or any options was the "communication issue" I mentioned about my former workplace. In addition, they're no longer in business. I did have quite a bit of savings though and I'm making use of what public resources I can. Both the administration and my former advisor (only person I can think of that I knew personally) seem pretty unwilling to go out of their way for me. Not only are there technical issues with taking a class twice, but I think auditing is also pretty expensive, and I wouldn't get to take exams/do homework. Not to be overly negative on these two points, but it's what happened, and this kind of general (even basic) lack of support has been really tough for me.

The last one is a neat angle - maybe I'll expand my search to include things like that, thanks!


>Sadly the lack of informing me about LTD or any options was the "communication issue" I mentioned about my former workplace. In addition, they're no longer in business

If there was a policy covering you, them being out of business may not matter there. Something to check into at least (sounds like you might have already).

Good luck!


Off topic: Cancer survivor here. Just wanted to let you know that chemo fog is a very real thing but temporary thing. I had it pretty bad but I'm two months out and everything is back to normal.


Oh really? That's really fantastic. I'm specifically hired for my EF type skills, so that's a huge piece of mind booster.


Btw, I like your username, Tabula_Rasa. I guess you want to say that you are like a blank slate now?


Thanks, thought it was appropriate :D

I was about a year ago. Acted like a teenager in the beginning! I've since developed a few scribbles here and there ;)


I don't know anything about this medical condition, but if I were looking to rebuild my brain/skills, I'd go here:

http://projecteuler.net/problems

You can do the problems in whatever language you want. That would help you re-learn both the language and programmatic thinking. After that it's just re-learning APIs and design patterns right?


Project euler is awesome. Maybe the OP should try learning something close but not quite to her original skills - like FP or golang in hope that the new stuff will help unearth and reconcile with the old.

All my best wishes for her.

Talking about patterns - yesterday I saw the phrase "strong track record with MVC" in a job listing. My head almost explode ...


> Talking about patterns - yesterday I saw the phrase "strong track record with MVC" in a job listing. My head almost explode

Ha, I hesitated mentioning design patterns. So much of it is bogus and overblown, but there's definitely some skill at organizing an application that must be learned.

Also, I vote for learning JavaScript. I think your point on learning slightly different skills is great. It might be like trying to re-read a book you started and stopped and have no idea where you left off. Why not pick up a new book?


That is a really cool idea. Is there anything similar for submitting solutions to more general programming problems, like the kinds of things they ask you to in interviews with hashing/sorting/etc? I can't figure out how the assignments are "graded" as such without logging in, it's just looking for a correct output regardless of sloppy code, or what?


You might try TopCoder algorithm competitions? (Especially the practice rooms with previous problems). Many of the problems are kind of interesting, but everything is expected to be solved within a limited amount of time, so you won't spend a lot of time on it. (TopCoder algorithm competitions are graded on correct output, within a limited execution time)


Like almost everyone else here, I have no real experience or education in this area but...

Have you set yourself a realistic expectation? Honestly think about this.

If you've lost 4years of learning, is it reasonable to expect that you can get back to the same place in the space of a short internship or course? No, I really don't think so. I doubt it will take 4 years either but I think you need to set yourself a reasonable expectation so as not to stress/depress/burn yourself out. Perhaps 1-2years?

What were you working on 4 years ago? Was there a side project or something at that time which you could revisit. Ease yourself into it and practice the skills you still have (i.e., your 4-years-ago self). Maybe that's a month or two. Then look at growing your skills from that position. DO NOT look at where you were just before the amnesia and try to get back to that. You might even take a different path.


Hey there! First off, really sorry this happened to you but it looks like you're definitely on the path to recovery - you're not just wallowing in depression and actively looking for solutions! Stay strong and keep it up, soon this will all look like a bizarre dream. :)

Where are you based? You mentioned you're in US, if you're in the NYC area give me a shout! I'm a gal coder too, would definitely meet up for some "coding sessions". I'm currently also learning some web stuff like JavaScript so we'd be in the same boat and help each other. I can also do Skype/chat sessions if we can't meet face-to-face so let me know!

Stay strong and try to look on the positive side. Things will definitely just go up from here! If not, there's always lolcats to lift the mood :)


I'm currently hiring at my company. If you want to have a chat we can try to see if an internship or a part-time job with us would make sense for you. Just let me know! Wishing you the best of luck!


Are there any local user groups in the technologies you used to use?

(a) They may put on tech talks, and these may be useful for relearning some of the knowledge you've lost.

(b) You can network, and possibly then find a company that understands your situation... although I suspect this is more of a long shot.

Btw, if you tell us which city you are based in/near, which technologies you used to use, and give us a (new, pseudonymous) e-mail address to contact you on, somebody here may be able to help with (b)... again, this is probably a bit of a long-shot.


I'd recommend having a mentor over your shoulder (or available online.) It's hard enough to get started the first time around without battling your own brain. Frustration to the point of being painful is how I'd describe it, and the fix (for me) is to have someone there to spend 5 minutes describing how [esoteric thing] works instead of banging my head against intangible frustrations.

Start on meetup.com and hackerspaces.org or just google for <city/state> <topic> user group.


Thanks for the advice, and getting the mentor thing! I went to a Ruby meetup a few months ago, but I didn't have my laptop so I just ended up standing around awkwardly. I've been meaning to look for other groups though, and things that could be a bit more friendly and less opened ended such as talks, workshops, and so forth.


> how to deal with the burden of this

Maybe I don't understand your situation well enought but is this really what you want to do?

I got interested in software development when I was 13 years old. Since then I''ve done software devlopoment both as a hobby and professionally. Now, in my mid 40's I work as a software developer and I'm having the time of my life!

My $.02 would be (as others in the thread has recommended) to take it slow. Also, try different things and focus on the things you find exciting!


First you'll need to decide where you want to be and when that is, i.e. set some goals. Next, exhaustively assess your remaining skill set in order to figure out what you don't know. Third, devise a plan for getting to your goal. Last, be willing to alter the plan as you learn and grow.

This might seem oversimplified, because it is. The plan is simple, the reality of execution is not.


I know you wanted to skip over the details to get the heart of your problem, but amnesia is one of the most interesting aliments I know of, and if you feel comfortable sharing any of the details, I'll read them in rapt attention without sharing any pushy opinions or giving un-asked-for advice! (I'm a bit of a biology of the brain nerd!)


No no, it's a fair question. I'm generally quite open to discussing what it's been like for me since I got amnesia. I do have quite a few anecdotes. I know it's not quite the same for everyone but I do have some classic symptoms that people screw up when they get "Hollywood Amnesia" - my older memories are more intact, presumably due to neuroplasticity, but without giving it much thought one may assume that the newer memories, being fresher, are the ones that are more intact.

A lot of things ended up going into more procedural memory than I was expecting. I can't actually tell you how I was able to still log into my online accounts with my password - I suspect muscle memory has a lot to do with it. I often will have a sense if I knew a person if I see a picture of them or I read their name, but sometimes linking it further than that goes nowhere. Music/language is interesting, yet mostly expected. You're probably familiar with the case of Scott Adams, who worked on overcoming Spasmodic dysphonia using a nursery rhyme. So certainly different pathways there - I will remember tunes, lyrics (even in languages that I can barely use anymore), but not the context, artist, etc. I can read all the non-latin scripts that I used to be able to read.


It must be very hard,

but make sure at least on the medical/psychiatric side you are getting the best professional help you can,

on the tech/career side, if it was me I start with basic Internship and work my way up, this time I am sure it will be much faster and possibly after a month or two you may find your confidence/skills improving exponentially.


I dont have a job for you, but I have a lot of C++ and other programming books. I'd be happy to send you some if they would be useful.


Stories like this is why I am really focused on becoming financially independent asap. All the best to you, OP.


i can't offer an internship or any really sound advice, but my email is in my profile, and i can offer mentorship and answers to questions from a software developer of over 20 years. feel free to contact me if that will help.


Shoot me an email, I might be able to help with an internship.


I do not claim to know much about the condition, nor can claim to understand what it might be for you. However, trying to put myself in your shoes, in whatever manner possible, I can think of a few things:

a. Get in touch with people with similar problems and learn from their experiences.

As I read this, I remembered the story I read not too long ago:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/13/mayank-sharma-amnes...

http://www.facebookstories.com/stories/32/mayank-sharma-his-...

..and his blog:

http://opensourcebrain.geekybodhi.net/

Now, although the situation is not quite the same, only slightly similar (in terms of loss of memory), it serves as an example. Social networks work excellent as a support group in situations such as these. Not only does it help to learn from people out there who are dealing with the same issue, but also technically speaking -- reusing existing resources is the most optimal and efficient way to (re)build something - be it software or one's life :)

b. Decide on a longer term objective first. A couple of examples:

* You probably are in an unique position to think about how to use technology to help people who are affected by the problems you are facing. Does that appeal to you ? If it does, can you think of a way to use technology as a means to build a platform/app/resource ...etc ?

* If not that, try to answer, what would you like to do ? What, in your definition is a 'software developer' -- do you want to get back to exactly what you were doing earlier ? Or do you want to explore technologies that you probably never worked on before ? ...and why ?

c. When you've got a rough idea of a longer term objective, you shall hopefully know what are the short-to-mid term goals you'd have to achieve in terms of the necessary skills. Write them out. Prioritize and then get cracking.

I know it is easy for me to say it and although I don't suffer from amnesia, every once in a while I try to 'brush up' skills that I don't use in my daily work (read: C :) ) and I suspect that I do. So, I share (at least) a bit of your frustration -- exactly as you said -- "I’ll probably be rolling my eyes at how simple some things are but also getting stuck on relatively basic things until they click again."

...though, I do not think there is another way to approach (re)learning.

d. Do you have access to any of your own code ? ie: code you have written from scratch yourself (as opposed to collaborated on). I would imagine re-reading/re-implementing bits of that might help. I say this because, experience has led me to believe that every programmer has a very individual 'coding style'. Much like prose, coders tend to express themselves in a manner that can be identified as their writing. From choice of variable names, to control flow. Relearning the technologies you knew might be easier if you did it with your own code.

e. Understand that university education will only help you gain a certain level of self-confidence in your abilities. To actually learn anything, you have to 'do'. So github might serve you better than coursera.

f. As far as employment is concerned, that is a different question than the 're-learning' process -- others have suggested options and I do not have any opinion to offer there except that putting your code out there (eg: on github) as well as progress (eg: a blog) might help.

wish you the very best - steve


Honesty is the best policy. While it's reasonable that you can't expect an employer to "price" you to include those years of experience that are now gone, any employer that treats you badly or as though you were smoking weed on your couch for those four years is an employer you do not want to work for in the first place. If you are as dedicated, honest, and hard-working as you say, you'll be a desirable hire regardless of your circumstances. Also, don't let this situation eat you up: I lost six years of development experience to infantry combat deployments that I could not avoid. That's not fair, but life's not fair. If you treat this like a challenge instead of a detriment, you will be a stronger and better person than the next guy (or gal). Chin up, and best of luck to you. :)


Thanks for the support :) It sounds like you were able to get back into things after the deployment then?


Yes, certainly, though I must mention that things were never quite "back to normal" after all that time over there. I've resigned myself to probably always being affected by those tours in some form or another. But again, I'm stronger through courage, perseverance and force of will than almost anyone I know (excepting naturally tough people who have seen more than their share of life challenges -- such as other veterans, or you, five years from now). I firmly stand behind the adage that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. :)


Learn quickly. Don't waste your time on 'blub' twice. If you can't live-code in it it's not worth using, let alone making a student use.

Legitimize yourself enough to cover for anything. Take the pressure off. Perhaps find friendly independent consultants at local gatherings and get assistant jobs. A few current references from active professionals in your field is worth more than 3+ year old history anyways. Just remember to follow instructions accurately and you'll be a great assistant at almost anything.

A strong showing now is what matters. Be what you are now. Always be working to improve anyways and don't worry about rebuilding things like they were.


Clever girl.




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