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Reuniting with an old friend over coding

Alex Morton
I'm Alex and I'm a self-taught software engineer. I host The Ladies Code Collective Podcast and I haven't missed a meal since 1992. Subscribe to my newsletter 💌 https://bit.ly/3bvoNs9
・3 min read

Recently, I caught up with one of my good friends from college whom I'd lost touch with over the years. I knew it would be just like picking up where we'd left off, over Zoom, and it definitely was.

The reason we'd actually gotten back in touch was coding of all things!

He's actually teaching himself to code at the moment and going through something of the same thing I did with making the whole career transition, step by step and improving his skills over time.

It's so funny to think about because we came from totally different academic backgrounds - I studied English Literature and he studied architecture.

I remember us during our first year of college, traipsing all the way to the other end of campus on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for our Existentialism lectures. (We still don't know why we ended up taking that course, and as mere freshmen! We seriously had no idea what was going on.)

But I remember us in that course together, sitting near the back of the rickety lecture hall in one of the old and charmingly haunting philosophy buildings and trying to understand what was going on all while rolling our eyes at another student who would constantly ask questions to find out more about what Heidegger meant by this or what Nietzsche meant by that. (Recall: we still had no idea what was going on.)

Throughout college, D and I remained close. We never took another class together again, but there was a feeling of deep friendship there.

After college, we lost touch. I think I reached out when I'd heard the news that our philosophy professor, a true giant in the field, had passed away after a long life and career.

Catching up with my friend, it was like picking right back up from where we'd left off but with pieces missing that we'd just have to fill in as we went. I didn't even know he'd gotten his masters in Architecture. And was now living in London, just mere hours from me on a plane.

Catching up, and being able to find that link of friendship again, over coding of all things. And what a reunion it was - seeing that spark that I felt when learning and still do even now (and I hope will always feel). Being able to share this passion when it feels difficult to share with others who aren't in the same sphere and don't necessarily know what we mean when we throw around terms and phrases like "React" or "static site generators" or "back-end engineering."

All the while, I kept thinking about how different our paths were - English lit and architecture, respectively - the steps of our walks to classes across the map of the sprawling UC Berkeley campus, and how we had no idea that they'd one day lead us to this career in coding and building and constant learning and discovery.

Yet again, we don't always know where things will lead us. But we'll always be glad for the way we got there.


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