My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.
Today I would like to deviate from code review and talk about something a little more important, time management, and how I have been able to envision an end point with the school. The Flatiron school, in a simple sense, is huge especially the online course that I am involved in. It is very expensive and you have to be very involved in the school to really be invested and take full advantage of the extent of knowledge that is available to you. I did not realize this until I officially began working full time in the school.
With this understanding of what was to come, I was able to provide myself with safe goals to complete per day to view an endpoint in the future. This was going well, I did not set goals that were too high, but were tangible to compete with everything else going on with work and so forth. Upon finishing the material that was mandatory to enter into the full school lesson program I was ready financially to begin working through the course material full time, all day every day. But then, as it always does, life happens….
Around this time, I had received a phone call from my mom and she told me she was diagnosed with cancer. Because of the severity of this cancer that she was diagnosed with, they said they would begin chemo that night. So off to Tucson I went, scratching all my study plans. For the next week, I stayed at the hospital with her, all day for roughly 15 hours per day. Only leaving to eat and sleep at my parent’s house. Through this time, it was hard…. And if anyone of you has had this happen to you I know from a viewer standpoint of how nasty cancer and treatment really is. Once the initial shock of the stark turn my life just took, I began thinking about school again. I began taking my laptop to the hospital every day with me.
My mom was unable to really talk through this time, it gave me a large window to make real progress with the coursework provided by The Flatiron School while being able to be there for the family to do whatever they needed me to do for them to help in any way I could. So this was my new normal, living in Tucson, Arizona hanging out at a hospital all day, helping with my mom and setting aside anytime I could to be there for her.
This was the next 5 months of my life, working and caretaking. Being there for my mom, while working through this cancer together and working through school when I had the time. This set me back in school quite a bit. I was not making the progress that I had, but still slowly inching my way forward.
During this time we got connected with M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas. So off to Texas we went. This past month and a half I have spent in Houston, preparing for the stem cell transplant that was approaching.
Every day in Houston I would wake up, pack a lunch, be at the hospital from nine o’clock to three o’clock. Then head to the gym, eat supper, and head back to the hospital until 12 o’clock. My time spent at the hospital I would work on school, it being really the only time I had. On July 4th, 2017 was the big day, my mom was ready for her stem cell transplant, her new birthday. If any of you know this is a big deal. Basically, it is a restart of her immune system, so when she gets to come out of the hospital she will have the immune system of a child, no vaccinations, and susceptible to anything that the average person would be able to fight off with a built up immune system.
For the next 15 day, she was unable to eat and could not leave her bed. So I sat with her, day after day, working on school, and helping with mundane things like plugging in her phone or ordering food on the phone. Things that you don’t think about until you are unable to do them. As well as making sure she was all caught up on the new season of The Bachelorette, which I hate to say, but it’s actually pretty addictive haha.
Though this time, I completed Ruby, built my first gem, ran business meetings, as well as had interviews with the school upon completing a major portion of the class work all from a hospital room at M.D. Anderson in Houston, Texas.
On July 20th we found out that is could be the cure, and she could possibly be cancer free and was released from the hospital.
We were headed home!
I do not mean to write a post about how I was able to complete all this school work, how I am this great guy, or a sob story. And I hope you don’t take it that way because that is not how I intended it. But things happen in life and you have to adjust. I set aside this time for myself to really progress in school, and with one phone call that all changed. I did not plan on moving to Houston for a couple months, nor spending long extended time in Tucson, but life goes on. This time with my mom has given me the strength to push through emotionally, has created a closer bond with my family than I have ever had. It has given me the time management skills to always know that I actually do have time to get what i needed done, even though it’s not quite the way you wanted that time to look.
My mom is cancer free, and I am more than halfway done with school. Which in a warped way, feels pretty good.