In January I was notified of my acceptance to the initial phase of the Grow with Google Scholarship program. I have until April 11 to complete 20 lessons and three major projects.
I’m on the final project right now, and I’ve never felt dumber.
Wait–that’s not true. I have felt this dumb before.
I carried feeling that dumb that with me for years–to the point where I tapped out of math courses after my junior year of high school, and when BYU told me I could take four semesters of a world language instead of two semesters of math, j’ai dit, “d’accord, je les prends.”
So as I have been working through these programming lessons the past two months, most of the time I feel pretty stupid. And in this past week as I’ve worked on the final project, the level of stupid I feel far exceeds what I remember feeling in advanced geometry.
But one thing I’ve learned in this course is how open many in the coding world are. The forums for the class are supportive, and people often post tips or hints for how to best complete quizzes and projects. Two weeks ago, the program directors offered to pair up people who were struggling with people who were really good programmers. So I signed up.
Tonight, someone I’ve never met face to face spent two hours walking me through different pieces of the code I’d tried to build. He asked questions and sometimes I answered them wrong, so he would give me hints, and a couple of times, he gave me the answers but then asked me to tell him why those answers were correct (and I could at least do that). When I finally signed off, he said, “Good work tonight!”
My first thought was “Good work? I barely understood what I was doing and you gave me A LOT of help! How is that good work?”
With his help, I am confident I’ll complete this course. I am zero confident that I’ll be selected for the next round, because I just haven’t truly learned the skills I need to be successful and I doubt I’m in the top 1500 students. I’m probably (definitely) helping him get into the next round just by having to suffer my inane questions and sloppy syntax.
And that’s okay. Really, really okay.
Because I have learned that there’s so many resources available for me to continue learning and practicing. I’ve learned that while taking courses at the local community college might be nice, it’s not necessary for what I want my second act to be.
This course has humbled me quite a bit; so much of what I’ve done in my life has come pretty easy to me, even the things that felt difficult at the time.
It’s been a long time since I felt motivated to become better at something I was really, really bad at. (And I am really, really, really bad at programming right now).
In fact, this might be the first time that’s happened. Sounds like a bucket list item to me.