The Active Record By The Starter League

The Starter League, founded in 2011, is a small school in Chicago that teaches Rails, Ruby, HTML/CSS, and User Experience Design. The classes are intensive, three months long, one to three days a week, and taught in person.

Push Yourself

By Harsha Murthy on September 10, 2015

When I dropped out of college two and a half years ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t look forward to my days in class. I was tired of accumulating this information I was never going to use. I didn’t feel like I was improving or gaining any skill. I had no confidence in my knowledge or my ability. I needed a better path.

The start to that path was an 11-week full-time web development class at The Starter League. The teaching approach was different than I expected from the start. We weren’t just learning the fundamentals of Ruby on Rails. We were learning how to think with purpose. We learned to identify problems that were important to us. We were taught to solve those problems in a meaningful and effective way. Web applications were just the medium through which we would solve these problems. We were not learning how to code to get a job, or work for somebody else. We were learning for ourselves.

Beyond the technical skills, I learned that the only way to progress is to push yourself to do things you’re not comfortable doing. If you’re comfortable you’re stagnating, you’re not improving. You have to move one step back to move two steps forward. Leaving college for The Starter League was definitely not the most secure choice. But taking that leap taught me more about how to approach my life than any Intro to Computer Networking class ever could.

I learned to accept that I didn’t know many things but refused to accept that I couldn’t figure that shit out. The knowledge is already out there, I just had to want it bad enough and make it mine. This attitude started with web development, but I now approach anything I need to do with this mindset. From learning to snowboard to teaching high school students at Northwestern how to code even though I’d never taught before. I’ve gained the confidence to learn anything I need to, no matter how big or how small.

This confidence in yourself, that you can do anything you set your mind to, is a skill that can be learned and practiced. It may sound trite, but the reason people don’t achieve what they want to achieve is because they don’t bite the bullet and take the leap.

There are a million reasons not to push yourself; to not do what you want to do. Forget them all and just do it. Believe in yourself. Work hard. The world will thank you for it.