elephant on ball

To My Ball: How I'm Going Rogue With My Studies and Technology

February 22, 2019

To My Ball: A Mi Bola

To go one’s own way, to do something different from everyone else.

“No me gusta viajar en grupos grandes, voy a mi bola.” “I don’t like traveling with big groups, I do my own thing.”

It can also be used negatively to talk about someone who only cares about their own business or problems or is a selfish person.

Seeing how I’m an only child and have spent my adult life traipsing around everywhere but home, I’m sure this would be what my family say about me (if they were Spanish, of course). I have no problem going off on my own to do things, or even to travel. Traveling alone is actually very satisfying – once you’re there, you realize you’re never really alone. I’ve had some amazing conversations with fellow solo travelers at hostels and on city walking tours.

salzburg solo travel

Solo travelin’ in Austria (2014)

I didn’t come here to write about traveling alone – there are more than enough listicles on the internet to tell you how to do this. I’m here to talk about digitally going a mi bola. By digital, I mean online university and social media.

First of all, I’d like to share a bit about the choice I’ve recently made to not continue my current degree program – at least for now. Backing up to about a year ago, I found out about UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) as a somewhat hip and cutting-edge alternative to UNED (Spain’s traditional online university). I had been interested for some time in gaining some new skills in tech – front-end development and UX were what interested me most. Programming seemed like this fascinating and nerdy world that I might want to be part of too. So I finally bit the bullet and decided it was time. You’ve already read about this in other posts, so I’ll spare the details, but I moved forward with the plan and enrolled over the summer.

Fast forward to now. I’m one semester down and I’ve got enough experience with the school to give it a way-less-than-five-star review. I enjoyed one of my four courses – HTML and CSS – quite a bit, but the rest left a lot to be desired. From the PDF books that didn’t have very many pages at all (or the course that didn’t have actual materials at all, just links to a few guides from around the internet), to the projects that seemed a little dubious in their usefulness, I’m not convinced this school and this program could take me in the right direction. I’m also not convinced I’d make a good programmer. 😉

So am I quitting this upskill process? Ni de coña, I decided to go a mi bola and study on my own! Yay! I signed up for Udacity’s Front End Developer “nanodegree” program, a four-month course that has the goal of helping me push out some useful portfolio projects. First, I signed up for Intro to Javascript, a free introductory course (and where I got the following donut video from) that got me up to speed on things I wasn’t grasping in the master’s program. Then I decided to take a leap and sign up for the four-month front-end course.

Now that I’m almost two months in, here are a few things I like about Udacity.