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End of Studies Interview: Leanna Lucas

Written by Tim Smith

Leanna Lucas

TE: Hi, Leanna! This is definitely not the first but it is our last interview with you as a student. How are you feeling? Are you ready for the Demo Day?

LL: I am feeling overjoyed today, I feel very grateful and nostalgic looking back at my time with Tech Ed. And excited about graduating — I love public speaking and I’m excited about that... But I’m also excited about the free drinks and pizza! [laughs]

TE: Just so you know the presentation is also going to be live on Instagram, so enjoy it ;)

LL: NO! [laughs in disbelief]

TE: Could you give us a sneak peek into the structure of your presentation and how it’s going to go - I know there will be lots of people attending the Demo Day today and it will also be going Live on our Social Media channels, but it would be good to have this as a teaser and also perhaps for people who would not be able to be there?

LL: I will be introducing my new mental health app called Whispy. It’s designed to aid you when you’re on the go, it has a mood tracker and it has breathing exercises - all based/working with the NHS api to get real information on real conditions that is approved by the NHS. The way I’ve designed it is that it takes the data from the NHS’ own website, but rather than going there, within my app you can click on a condition and it will be presented in a very nice-to-view way.

The structure that I’ll be going for in my presentation is I’ll be introducing my app, but I will also be touching on the challenges I faced during, my objectives, my thought and my work process, the wireframes and then finishing up by explaining what I will be doing to take this further… [thoughtful pause] In all honesty we have had a week for this, but being very much familiar with the tech workflow now so I’ve finished it in 2 days! [laughs]

TE: Could you tell us about any challenges that you’ve had during your time with Tech Ed?

LL: Absolutely, I’d say there were things that came up - both in personal life, during my studies which all of us have had, and I take pride in knowing that no matter what came our way - which is just natural in life anyway - we have found a way to solve them: all made for a great life experience and learning curve. For example on a personal level there were times I felt I had to take a day or more off of my studies because I had to deal with things like getting Covid, my dog dying and my mum being hospitalised several times. These situations are difficult for anyone in the best of circumstances and I thought combining it with studies would have been borderline impossible, however, being a part of Tech Ed has actually made it…better? The level of support I’d received when I was going through all of this actually made these hardships easier to go through and having the studies actually gave me something constructive and productive to concentrate on, hence helping me take my mind off things, for which I am ever so grateful.

Another thing I can think of — and I have actually debated whether I should mention this or not as I can be a bit awkward like that, but I did want to be completely open today — is before we completely bonded as a very family-like team, there was a time when we were struggling to find some balance in the classroom dynamic. I think whenever you’d have a group of very bright and very creative group of people with their own strong opinions and background, this can sometimes be an issue [chuckles lightly]. What I did love about that is that Tim (our Course Director and now also a good friend), has managed to spot and address this and resolve before it even became a problem!

TE: This is amazing, so insightful as well! These are the kind of things that you definitely won’t see in the course description and it’s really precious to get such an insight from! Thank you for opening up! On a lighter note, could you tell us more about what created that feeling of support / family atmosphere?

LL: Absolutely! One of the most vivid memories that comes to mind is going to NorDev event. It was fascinating and huge and as excited as I was to be there, I was also quite anxious with so many experienced people around me and I was still very much feeling like I was just finding my ground with everything — and it was at this time that Tech Ed have very proudly introduced me to the community with such genuine pride and confidence, which almost gave me that genuine mum-and-dad vibe. I felt valued, believed in and supported at the time when I still didn’t fully believe in myself! This also gave me the opportunity to make amazing connections and friends!

What I felt is that there was a true and honest passion for my growth and developing me personally.

TE: Were there any other moments that made you feel supported and valued?

LL: Yes — my one-to-ones with Tim. He is an absolutely amazing teacher and I didn’t actually realise just how much I ended up relying on his support and validation until I had to stay home for a week as I was down with Covid. It was a reading week for me and it’s probably that it’s hit me just how much support and validation I was generally used to getting from Tim as he was no longer there! Until then I have completely underestimated the impact he’s had on me. He’s just amazing - he's just shot my confidence up to the sky.

TE: Going back to the impact Tech Ed’s had on you and your life, could you describe the difference between going back and remembering what it was like just before you started and now?

LE: Oh my god, it is absolutely night and day. It was this exciting opportunity that didn't feel real, and given my past, I thought to myself "something is going to fall through, something isn't going to work out". I mean I'd go as far as to say when I'd only just started I thought I was too stupid to do code and I honestly thought it was going to get to a point where I'd just have to quit, and that wasn't evident in my code, it was evident in my imposter syndrome, as in I just didn't believe in myself enough... And in the blink of an eye, I went from that to getting a job in development that was 10K more than what I'd previously been on. It went from being completely unrealistic, unreachable goal to me to being totally in the bag and ready to go.

I mean

I remember that when I was just about to start, I’d had a bit of a bad spell in my life, and this whole opportunity almost felt a bit… Surreal, if that makes sense? I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going to go wrong and something would eventually fall through. And when it all started coming together and I could feel my life start changing, I almost couldn't believe it.

TE: Is there anything else you would like to add before we let you get on with your Demo Day preparations?

LL: Yes. I would like to let anyone reading this know that if they believe in themselves, anything is achievable! Also, if anyone would like to get in touch with me, I am very open to connecting with people.

About the Author

Tim is the course director at Tech Educators and brings with him almost a decade of experience working in various tech sectors, as well as the added benefit of being an alumni to a Full Stack Bootcamp.

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