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The Clojure Koans - Take One

29 Oct 2012

Take your first step on the path to enlightenment.

As my first departure from the land of object orientation, I feel like this must have been what is was like when people found out that the world was not flat. It is a totally different way of looking at things and if you haven't done it, you will really have to bend your mind to wrap it around the concept. Or maybe unwrap your mind from the way that you had to force it into thinking about doing object oriented work. I'll let you decide.

It was a Monday and Doug said that I was going to start at Clojure and that I would use the Clojure Koans. I was nervous and excited as I am interested in functional programming for it's use in AI. At first, when I got started with the Clojure Koans,I realized that I was going to have to just throw myself in. This is different from my typical learning style where I want to be prepped with a lay of the land and as much information about something. Let's use a pool as an example. In the past, I would find a spot I liked, dip my toe in the water, think about said toe dipping, maybe dip again, and then probably slowly get into the water, and then feel comfortable enough to get swimming around. Meanwhile, someone else comes out of the locker room, running, not aware of how deep the pool is, screams "Cannon ball!" and jumps in. In the case of me starting the koans, because of the nature of the exercises, I uttered out an uncomfortable "cannon ball" and pretty much belly flopped in.

As I would get stuck and develop a need for finding information, as I searched, I started to find a network of sites that I found reliable,mostly the Clojure website and Clojure Docs plus a couple of book recommendations.(I decided on Programming Clojure) I was gathering information on a need to know basis while working through these exercises. It has been amazing to see how quickly I could be up and running by jumping in!. I am about half way through the Koans at this point and find myself wanting to be able to finish them!

I must say that there have been other similar experiences to this one in other areas before this in my apprenticeship and every time I experience it, becomes more apparent that working through this uncomfortableness and just jumping in is an essential ingredient in the secret sauce of successful learning.

And now back to the Koans!

Cannon Ball!

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