The Marcy Lab SchoolThe Marcy Lab School

Jan Morales

They / Them

Software Engineer at Cockroach Labs | Fall '21 Alum

What were you doing before you enrolled in The Marcy Lab School?

I had recently left the School of Visual Arts after completing three years of undergrad. For work, I was photo assisting, catering, and painting apartments.

What made you most want to apply for Marcy’s Software Engineering Fellowship?

The program was free of cost, the curriculum felt very expansive, and the mission of the school made me feel seen like I never had before. It felt perfect.

What was your favorite part of the Fellowship?

The friends I made along the way and the relationships I built with the staff. The experience felt like a big team effort, and I never felt like I was competing for something.

What was most challenging for you as a Fellow?

The most challenging part was balancing the program and working part-time to make ends meet. The program is intense and operates like a regular workweek, so fitting work around it was tough.

How did attending Marcy prepare you for your work and career?

It prepared me by ingraining values and skills that allow me to thrive in the real world—things such as accountability, integrity, curiosity, leadership skills, and lots of discipline. The program operated in a way that mimicked what working full-time as an engineer would be like. It expanded my communication and writing skills, which are essential when you’re part of a team at a company. Working collaboratively on projects prepared me for that in the workplace. Learning how to set goals for myself and looking for areas of improvement is a continuous process that helps you climb the career ladder, and that is something I learned at Marcy.

What are some of your goals and dreams for yourself?

I plan to continue to push myself as if I were still in school while getting to enjoy the perks of being financially stable for the first time. Having this career allows me to also focus on my art and do it on my own terms without the burden of needing to make a living from it.

What advice do you have for our incoming Fellows?

Push yourself, stay curious, and stay fixed on getting to the finish line. It’s important to celebrate wins while also being open to feedback that lets you grow. Lastly, a year flies by so fast, so it’s important to make the most of it. You’re planting the seeds for what may very well be a full and rewarding life, unburdened by the struggles you’re trying to escape.

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