Here is my second post regarding struggles as an outreachy intern in Mozilla. Today, I am gonna share my struggles and the learning I grasped from them. Without problems how do we find solutions? How do we grow? How will we be stronger? Most of all How will we improve?
I went through a lot of challenges/problems during my first few weeks of the intern. I gathered all my experiences and learnings in order to help someone who is having a hard time, just to make you feel a bit more motivated so that you don’t give up. I will try my best to push you a step ahead after you read this.
Before starting my intern, I brushed my JS concepts in order to speed up my tasks and do them as fast as I can. But here comes the irony of coding. There a difference between understanding the code and when you actually start to write the code (it may scare you with a lot of errors :P). It’s easy to understand a well-written code, which is true in most of the cases in open source communities.
People are so passionate to help and improve the community that you will enjoy working with them and that vibe is just amazing. It brings so much motivation to see people devoting so much from their lives to contribute to open source. When I see people around me and with me, working so hard. It gives you motivation no doubt in that but at the same time, it also scares you. You develop this fear of not giving your best. Which I was facing hugely in my first few weeks.
Learning by Doing:
Learning by doing refers to a theory of education expounded by American philosopher John Dewey. The reason I highlighted this point is that I feel a lot of people seek Learning and Doing as same. But in case of coding challenge actually starts when you start writing code own your own. They believe doing a good tutorial and you know just reading a book can help them all way along. It does help no doubt, but if you don’t practice it along the learning way you are choosing a path of fooling yourself.
All the amazing coders were at this stage when they initially started. They were just stubborn enough to go through their struggles and come out stronger. If you are feeling little low or you are having this emptyish feeling in your stomach that whether you should try or not? Are you good enough or not? Are you going to be good enough or not? You can’t really be certain enough in your life and you can’t just wait for a perfect moment to start, because there is never gonna be a perfect time. So, start now! Trust me you deserve a good try at least.
You can ask different people and read different articles to ensure your self-confusion. From some, you will relate a lot and from some, you might get discouraged. So here is one of my all time favourite quote. 🙂
The after party struggle:
You know people think once you got your intern/job now you are sorted. It’s all easy. They have these pre-consumed notions that before getting the job people must have read all or practised all or that may be people who are doing their job they know everything about it and they just type it as soon as they see the problem. Well, that’s not the case. People do read a lot and practice a lot that’s why they got the intern/job, but at the same time, you can never learn enough. There are always challenges that push you to do things you haven’t done it before. That’s when the real struggle of looking yourself as Am I good enough to get this intern/job? begins.
After starting my intern I had my first meetings with my mentors and fellow interns. It was really good e-meeting my mentors and all other new fellas. I was really nervous and excited at the same time. I was assigned some first tasks, in which I had to work with an issue that I partially solved in my application period. It was a complex one and I wasn’t able to solve it completely in my first week. I was really panicking and frustrated for not being able to find that perfect solution.
I had to add a cross icon in the list of sites/tab that was opened in that container has an ability to be closed individually when clicked on that icon. If you hover on that icon it should turn dark and when you click it, it should close that particular tab. I did implement it before but the problem was it was by adding a column to the right of the list in which the cross icon was appearing.
My mentor suggested that it’s not space friendly as it is occupying a whole column space so the space for site information is left less. So I had to dynamically add the icon while hovering on that particular site in the list with having those properties(to click and close it). I was really confused. I asked some questions and tried some different concepts I read a lot online on what different I can apply? How should I manage the opacity and make it being added smoothly? It did get dynamically added but it was not being added smoothly. It was loading the whole list again and it looked so messy.
Then I was given some hints and help from my mentor. He gave a link to an example which was partially implementing a concept ( using flex how you can use
visibility: collapse) that he suggested so that I could get some idea to improve my solution. That was a really good resource, it cleared all the doubts I was having regarding implementing it like that.
After me crawling with that issue since so long I finally managed to do it. I was so happy to solve that, I use to call it the monster issue. Thankfully my mentors luke and Jonathan are really amazing and helping. They never let me feel like I am not good enough as I couldn’t solve my initial tasks that soon as I expected. They have been really patient and motivating. I couldn’t ask for better mentors.
The art of asking questions:
I was really bad at asking questions. I was never a confident girl, you know like the ones who ask questions in the class and responds whichever answer come to their mind. I use to be the silent one always. I even confronted that to my mentors that I really struggle with asking questions as I think I should read before asking questions and I end up reading too much.
I struggled with my issue for a week just because I was reading every possible resource and not asking questions frequently until I gave up and was like I am not able to solve it. I tried it all. That is not a good practice trust me.
My mentor then told me that it could save my couple of hours. Because a fresh eye can spot errors quickly and they can provide you direction which you might have lost while struggling with it.
The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.Thomas Berger
I pushed myself to ask questions and it made my life easier and I was able to deliver more. Once I use to get the necessary direction, I then use to search for the resources in that lane. It reduced the amount of time I use to spend on issues and I learnt more ways to approach the problem which was the best part of asking questions or direction.
Meanwhile struggling with that, I got through this quote which really impacted me in a way to ask more questions. As most of us develop this fear because we think our question is a really stupid one to ask. What will they think we don’t know even this? This is the most common thought we have while asking a question.
There is no stupid question: stupid people don’t ask questions.
Some times we even find a solution while asking for the question. If not, then once we get the answer most of the time we feel really dumb. Mind goes like “Oh crap!! yes, how can I not know this? How can I be so stupid? Why didn’t they disown me yet? This was so simple.” It’s just that span of time in which we are inclined to some other complicated thoughts regarding that problem that we miss simple solutions on the way.
I hope I motivated you enough to ask questions and to be okay while struggling. Stay tuned until my next blog.
Good day 🙂