One step backward, two steps forward…
One week into Mod 2 of Flatiron School’s SE program and I’ve run into an interesting roadblock that has permeated all software developers in existence. Queue me working on a paired programming session where we are working with rails for the first time. The previous week, we were working with Sinatra, which was a breeze, but Rails immediately knocked me down a peg…or three. Imposter syndrome kicked in, and I fell right into it.
What is imposter syndrome exactly?
Imposter syndrome reflects the beliefs that you are incapable or incompetent despite the fact that you’re actually quite skilled.
…but why though?
The reality of not being able to finish the project was a blow to my pride and my productivity afterward. It’s an odd cycle of thinking that led to a feeling of being behind even though I had a decent grasp of rails from just absorbing all of our previous lectures. It’s frustrating and brought me to a standstill by the time I got to the weekend.
How did you break out of it?
Mindfulness may not be something that people generally lean towards when it comes to their day to day life, but it can be a key tool to your productivity. It is a big tool towards your mental health, which is important for anything really. This major practice is key because you allow yourself to take inventory of where you are at mentally. You are basically giving yourself some time to breathe and take note of how you are being affected by life and its stressors.
Giving myself time to breathe was the first big step. Not just even necessarily meditating. Getting out and enjoying the park helped me reframe. There was one other BIG step after stepping away though, and it was coming back to the code.
You may not come back and initially solve it right away, but move on to another project. In my instance, I moved to a different set of labs. I certainly didn’t even try to tackle that problem coming back. Thinking back on it, I know what I did wrong but, in order to finish it, I needed the step back to recognize that I didn’t understand what I was doing. Do not be afraid to step back to brush up a little more through the documentation. Do not be afraid to step away for a breather. Do what you need to boost your own morale.
I personally don’t think the biggest mistake is not being successful in your code. It’s not coming back after you’ve taken a step away and disregarding the work you did to get to this point. You might even surprise yourself when you get back and find out you were only missing an extra letter 🤡