Hive Helsinki. The selection Piscine.
In July, 2022 I participated in the Piscine organized by Hive Helsinki. If you are not familiar, Hive Helsinki is a new type of coding school originated in France and based on principles of peer-to-peer studies and project-based learning. Hive Helsinki is a sister branch of world-known school 42. To enter the school, students participate in four-week bootcamp (the Piscine) after which the selection is made.
I did the Piscine in July, 2022 and want to share my thoughts after completing the Piscine and also some tips that might be useful for future Swimmers. Sorry, guys, no solutions for exercises.
No background is required to do the Piscine?
At Hive Helsinki they claim that to do the Piscine you do not need any coding experience. I followed that claim and even had not practiced any C-language before that. However, my advice would be don’t believe them when they say you don’t need any programming experience. Be ready to be among people who have degrees in economics, math, engineering and even programming.
Moreover, some people there might be doing their Piscine for the second time. Do you really think you can achieve good results and show progress if you’ve never touched anything coding related? I doubt.
My advice is to learn at least about functions, if statements, loops, return values, ascii, terminal and git manipulation. Because even for people with specific background and second-time swimmers it was difficult to achieve the bare minimum to pass the day.
Unpredictability doing the Piscine at Hive Helsinki
The unpredictability level is extremely high in the Piscine. You never know what exercises you get tomorrow, how many of them, how hard they would be to pass the day. Moreover, as days overlap, it requires from you to decide if you continue with yesterday’s exercises or start a new day’s exercises. But you never can be sure that you’ve done everything correctly until the day ends and after peer evaluations done.
Therefore, to survive the uncertainty I tried to find some anchors to balance the unpredictability. At first, it was people. Seeing same people every day who struggle the way you struggle helped me for some time. But people started to quit. And then COVID came to the campus. And swimmers started to disappear. At some point we had less than 10 people in my cluster. A person to the left disappeared. So did a person to the right. So did a swimmer who sat in front of me. So did all people on my row. My anchor to survive unpredictability crashed!
In panic, I tried to find something new to stabilize me and my being in the Piscine. The only thing that I found was sitting always at the same computer on the same place. I could hardly think about anything as I was overwhelmed with the feeling of loosing the ground under my feet. And it helped. At least for me. I felt that I had my place and I was safe.
Why might the Piscine at Hive Helsinki in Finland feel harder than in other countries?
Swimmers are encouraged to ask their peers for help. And asking for help is probably even harder than figuring out answers to exercises. Especially in the country like Finland where people care so much about neighbors, their peace and about not disturbing others. Don’t play music loud, don’t stand close on the bus stop, don’t greet your neighbors not to embarrass them. These are rules every person should know about living in Finland.
It is so hard to get up and go to talk to a stranger! So scary! So confusing! Therefore I saw that some swimmers sat still, tried hard (it was written on their faces), and probably did not succeed. I also struggled with that a lot. But eventually I found a groups of swimmers with whom I felt very comfortable and we continued to chat after the Piscine as well. So, my advice would be not to pretend to be the most sociable person, but find people that you like and start conversation first.
I got in to Hive Helsinki. But I don't tell you much about the selection criteria. Seems no one still knows nothing how students are selected. Just don't give up, stay in the Piscine till the end (even if you fail every day), care about community and do your best. I hope you'll be selected!