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Catherine Chen
Catherine Chen

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What I learned from finishing Udacity's four-month Blockchain nanodegree in one month

Udacity was offering a one month free promotion due to the coronavirus, and I wanted to take advantage of it. I signed up on the website, entered my credit card info, and took note that I would have $400 dollars charged to my account if I didn't graduate (finish the program) or cancel my subscription before my month was up. (To put things into perspective, the program is designed to take four months to complete.)

Perhaps Udacity was looking to build their customer base, but renewing my subscription was not a viable option for me. I couldn't spare four hundred dollars when the same amount would pay for eight units of college tuition.

It wasn't really a choice. I could either go partway through the program and possibly never finish it, or I could try to complete it in a month.

Since I can't live without challenges, I chose the latter. And here's what I learned from it.

The beginning may be easy, but it's the end that counts.

At first, putting in three to six hours a day, six days a week in this one thing was fun. But after the first or second week, I began to feel drained.

The content became more difficult. The projects took a lot of time. I had midterms for school coming up, and a magazine design deadline to meet. I had so much on my hands - but then I learned my second lesson.

You have to push yourself. No one else is going to do it for you.

I wanted to do this. So I had to force myself to sit back, watch hours of videos on blockchain, and work through debugging a bunch of errors (many due to old code). My brain literally felt dead in the middle of the afternoon.

What got me through was the knowledge that I wanted this and could do it, and the fact that I wasn't going to get anywhere if I didn't tell myself to start working. I had to push myself.

Sometimes you should take a break...or not

On the third week, I became so exhausted I unintentionally took two days off. Sure, it was great to have a day when Blockchain wasn't on my mind. But on the other hand, I lost valuable time. I ended up having to stay up late to finish the last two projects, which made me pretty sleepy during class those days. Not ideal, but bearable.

Cramming isn't fun

I wished I'd had more time to absorb and explore the material on Solidity, Ehtereum, Truffle, and more I was presented with. But since I was on a time crunch, I missed out big time.

Community matters

My family totally supported me during the whole thing. They gave me alone time to finish up the projects I needed to submit, encouraged me along the way, and celebrated with me... the end...

I felt absolutely WONDERFUL when I received the completion certificate. I'd done it! Maybe I wouldn't start a career in blockchain, but I'd always remember the moment and what it took for me to get there.

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