Last week, I left my admin job of 3.5 years in the insurance industry. Today, I began a new chapter that I hope will turn into a long and fulfilling career in tech.

I arrived, as I think we all did, bursting with excitement and nerves. First of all, the Mozilla office is lovely! There’s a beautiful community space and a stocked kitchen, and Ascend provides us with breakfast and lunch each day. I feel incredibly fortunate to be here.

The first thing we did together was create agreements for how to foster a safe and welcoming work space for each other. Already I felt valued and respected. Then we unboxed our brand new MacBook Air laptops (oooh, shiny!), and took a StrengthsFinder quiz to identify the natural talents we bring to the group. My top five are Empathy, Positivity, Adaptability, Developer, and Input. We then mingled around and discussed our strengths with each other, then made little posters to put up around the room with our name and our strengths. I joked with some friends that the assessment said I’m really good at “knowing stuff” and “being happy at you” … no surprise there!

Today we didn’t get into any coding or technical work, and even though I’m very eager to cram as many marketable skills into my brain as possible in six weeks, I’m still very glad that we spent the day creating community, focusing on strengths, and setting the stage for a positive and supportive learning environment.

After feeling rather stagnant for quite a while, I’m now feeling very empowered, strong, optimistic, and like I am where I want to be at this point in my life.