I knew my time doing bootcamp at Juno would teach me how to be a front-end web developer. What I didn’t realize is that it would also teach (or perhaps I should say reinforce) me so many life lessons.
I’m two weeks and two days* into the whole 9 week process and it’s been a lot. A lot of information. A lot of new friends (yay!). A lot of change. I think the thing I wasn’t expecting was that I would panic so early on.
My first “I’m not good enough for this… Maybe they can refund part of my tuition and I can do something else” moment came just 5 days in. On a Friday afternoon. Our project was due three days later, on the Monday, and I was overwhelmed. I was looking at everyone around me and (it felt like) everyone else was miles ahead of me. I felt like everyone else was smarter than me. More advanced than me. Had more practice under their belts. They were just SO. MUCH. Better.
You see, my friends, I am a bit of a perfectionist. I like doing things well. I am a people-pleaser. I want people to like me. I want to be at the top of the class. I want people to think I’m awesome on Every. Single. Level. I want to know all of the answers. BUT, as it turns out… that’s not what this part of my journey is about.
It’s true: a lot of people are coming to the table with more experience than I have (I’ll be honest: I barely knew how to turn on my computer before last August). I am not at the top of the class. But this is an unfair comparison. Not by others (my teachers and fellow students have been nothing but supportive, kind, and helpful), but by myself.
If someone else came to me and told me the thoughts that were going through my head, but about themselves, I would feel so badly for them and try to talk them out of feeling that way. Why is this not that way when we are speaking to ourselves?
So, I made a conscious decision that I needed to be kind to myself. I need to STOP comparing myself to those around me. Once I stopped panicking (after I asked for some help and my new pals graciously oblidged), I realized that, for me, marks really don’t matter. Really. I’m pretty sure that my potential employers are not going to be asking for my grades (are they?!) — what they will care about is if I can execute code. Do I understand what I’ve been learning at Juno? Can I follow through on what I’ve learned? Do I have the ability to learn new things? Do I know how to speak up when I don’t understand something? Am I a good person to have on the team? What kind of energy will I bring to the room?
So I’m changing my focus. I’m here to learn as much as I can (and not just about coding). I’m being more gentle with myself when I don’t understand something. I’m *gasp* asking my new pals & teachers “stupid” questions (aside: there ARE no stupid questions! Really!). I’m trying to be a sponge here. I’m not going to be the best. But that’s okay. That isn’t what this is about. I will bring other things to the table that other people won’t. That’s life. This is my own journey and I need to stop comparing myself to others and instead look at how far I’ve come in only 5 months!! If I look at it that way, it’s pretty incredible and I am really, really proud of myself.
So, self: hang on. Learn what you can. Forgive yourself when you can’t and try it again another day. Ask questions. Do your best. Stay on your own journey and focus on that. Then, you can be proud.
note: I started writing this blog and a few days later I had another day of self doubt and did a lot of comparing myself to my fellow classmates (or my perceived image of them/their work). I acknowledged it and let myself feel it, but with the content of this blog post in the back of my mind and, honestly… it was very, very helpful. Is it wrong to bookmark your own blog post? Because I have.