I don't know if there is one particular word that quite captures how the first day went.
Expected? Enthralling? Engaging? Intimidating? Exciting?
that was a lot of words that start with e
I think all of those words are valid.
As expected, there was a lot of the typical orientation activities--introductions, rules, overviews, the usual rah-rah talks. And we also hit the ground running by reviewing our pre-course work.
The concerns I had about Hack Reactor getting too large were largely dispelled: while there are four simultaneous cohorts of ~25 at any given time, there are also a significant amount of extra help. There are nearly a dozen (or more?) HIRs (hackers-in-residence), class shepherds, and roving software engineers (not sure where from...) and a fairly efficient help-system.
The lectures were engaging and finally getting to meet the rest of my class was exciting.
As I expected, there was a wide array of coding experiences and knowledge amongst my peers. At the top are people with CS-degrees, who have worked as software engineers or who have been coding for years.
In the middle are people who have used code in a previous job (e.g. research and analysis) or who have done significant projects on the side (e.g. start-ups).
Then there's the bottom portion, of which I am a proud member of. We are the ones who started learning to code this year. For me, I only really buckled down and began to learn in August. I don't think I really knew what terminal was until the end of September.
And because of that huge knowledge gap between me and everyone else, I am intimidated. But this is not a new environment for me; I felt more or less this way, only to a greater degree, when I started college. So, let's get going!