Part 3: The journey to self-discovery.

Fey Ijaware
Dec 30, 2017 · 10 min read

Here we are, the final chapter, a few people has been asking if I would ever finish it and here is your answer.

Sorry for the long wait but I really wanted to share this after my break was over but definitely before 2017 is over. So if you’re just joining the party, please give part one and part two a read first.

Before I continue with the last part of these chronicle on self-discovery, I want to say thank you to everyone that has read the first two and have cheered me on.

Thanks for recommending, commenting, and egging me on to finish it.

It was a bit personal to write and the reason being was, with anything that I have ever read that, has moved me or motivated me, it has always been from someone sharing their personal story, or journey. There’s so much we can learn from others and their journey, even if it just a reassurance.

As per our usual ritual, just a heads up that this is gonna be another long one. So I suggest you make a cup of tea or coffee or whatever makes you comfortable as this is gonna be another long but pleasant one. I’m not a writer so bear with me and if you come across a spelling mistake, please let me know via a comment below.

So where were we….. The Co-op.

I bet you’re all wondering how I started at the Co-op if I gave up during the application process. I personally just find job applications such a pain. There are ridiculously lengthy and sometimes most or some of the questions are totally irrelevant and unnecessary, I guess you can call it one of my weaknesses. But luckily, I was able to get a job via 1 of the 3 agency I was registered with.

Having Lunch and enjoying the lovely view of Manchester at work on the 14th floor at 1 Angel Square.

I was at the Co-op close to 2 years and I have to say, that’s what lead me down the path I am on now. Working at the Co-op sent me down a path where I discovered my love of coding, analytics and developing. It happened when my manager gave me a website project to have a look at, to see what needed updating and how to go about making the new changes, and guess what I was in love.

This was how I got a taste for developing and I realized I wanted to learn more, so much more. While at the Co-op I ended up doing some aspect of Front-End Web development for a year, website (Internet and Intranet) content updating and creating via Episerver CMS (The Co-op’s content management system at the time). I learned on the job, mostly via online, but only the aspects that I needed to get the job done.

The Co-op at the time was also going through a whole lot of changes. It had just established a new department “Co-op Digital” with a new digital executive officer, “Mike Bracken” who you might know for his work with the government and the website, and if you don’t, now you do. Luckily, I was also right in the middle of this new change, which gave me a lot of different opportunities and cemented that I was on the right path.

(Yes I am the one in the pink shoes) At a Digital Masterclass learning about Agile ways of working.

And when a scholarship to learn ‘Android Development’ landing in my lap also, I happily jumped at the opportunity. And that’s how I ended up on my journey to become a Full Stack Developer (Web and Android) and my third break. For a more in-depth look at my time at the Co-op, I will be sharing another story on that so stay tuned.

I think one thing self-reflection has been good for is I am able, to be honest with myself about what I want in life, about my goals and my aspirations, and to be more honest with my words. Just writing the first part of this story had enabled me to find my voice, to start writing again and sharing with the world. It has also made me unashamed of judgement.

It’s your life. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for living it your way.

And part of what started it all was my scholarship from Google and studying with Udacity. It really broaden my life and exposed me to a lot of amazing people all across Europe. And with the addition of the freeCodeCamp and Women TechMakers community’s, I have met some amazing people from all over the world. And I couldn’t be more thankful and grateful for these opportunities and the community’s that I am now a part of.

Some of you might be able to guess this already but I will come out and say it. I am a huge Ted Talk fan and one of my dreams is to actually do a TedTalk in the future. If you’ve never heard of it, I definitely recommend browsing their site and listening to some of the talks on their site. One of my favourite TedTalk at the moment is by Luvvie Ajayi. And the one thing I took from her TedTalk is that …. “Your silence serves no one”. Hence why I am here also sharing my story in hope that it might inspire or reassure just one person.

While on the topic of TedTalk, I have to say it was also one of the things that kept me motivated this year. When I started to lose focus or started to doubt myself. I would just go to their site and listen to some TedTalk’s.

Call me greedy but ever since I came across this quote by Steve jobs, I knew I had to find the one thing I am happy to get up in the morning for.

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

I think the one thing that has been a motivation and inspiration is our ability to re-reinvent ourself to be better than we were before, celebrities do it all the time re Miley Cyrus, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Madonna, etcetera. So what was stopping me? And believe me, that’s is a question have asked myself so many times this year. After the third time, it’s got a bit easier to say, nothing and no one.

I guess this is my way of sharing, to say no, it’s never too late for you to find that one thing that makes you happy. Sure you will fail a couple of time but as long as your still alive, cliché but true, there is still time to keep trying. I think we are all so afraid of failure so much that we don’t realise it okay to fail sometimes. Another thing I realise this year is there’s a beauty in failing and having the courage to get back up, to realise that it not the end but a new beginning.

To succeed, I believe that it’s important to enjoy the work you’re doing. When developing I am happier, more engaged and I perform at the top of my game. And that’s why I decided to go on my third break, to pursue Software Development and took off 9 months off work this year from January, to really focus on learning and developing my digital skills, and what a beautiful journey it was.

I didn’t spend the whole of my nine months off just studying, I also travelled and went on a few adventures. I started 2017 in Tokyo and Kyoto. I went to some pretty amazing temples, made some new amazing friends and had a great time. And I really can’t wait to go back, I love everything about Japan, the people, and the culture.

Some snippets from my travel’s to Japan.

In March, I was ready for another getaway and an all-inclusive holiday to Cyprus sounded ideal. I had never been and the sun was calling my name. Cyprus was an adventure, the people were so inviting, and the history and culture were breathtaking. I even got to visit the Kykkos Monastery and Museum, up in the Troodos mountains, filled with priceless exhibits that will take you back to early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine times, perhaps the only one of its kind in the world. The opulent Orthodox monastery is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and possesses one of the three icons attributed to Apostle Luke the Evangelist.

Some snippets from my holiday to Cyprus.

I like to think part of what made this year an adventure for me was the fact that I was studying but that I also gave myself opportunities to do some of the things have always wanted to do more of, which was travelling. In the summer I went to Crete. This was more of a chilled holiday but I still got to explore the area and visited one of the local water parks.

Some snippets from my holiday to Crete.

I also made sure to visit my family and over the summer holidays, my sister came down to visit me with my adorable but playful nephews. We visited around Manchester and Liverpool.

But don’t get me wrong, there were times when I felt like giving up, times when impostor syndrome rared her ugly head and I doubted myself, times when I failed, times when it took me longer than others to fully grasp a concept, but I pulled through.

Just because you took longer than other’s doesn’t mean you failed. So give yourself credit for the days you’ve made it when you thought you couldn’t.

So an advice I will happily give to anyone that is reading right now is “Don’t be afraid to fail”. Has Oprah Winfrey once said, “failure is just a reassurance that your trying” this has been one of my mantras this year. So keep trying till you get it right.

I think the one thing that made developing resonate with my soul is the fact that I am a problem solver and it has definitely opened up my world up to a whole new possibility and ways in which I can also help create a solution or solutions to problems and issues.

Me at a VR Hackathon organised by Rise and Barclays.

Theirs is still so much I want to learn, to code, to create, to develop, but I am taking it one step at a time. I know being a Software Developer involves constant learning and I am still a long way away, however, I am someone that’s very eager to learn and develop. But I am also learning that it’s okay to pace myself, don’t try to rush through it, to take my time.

The best part of going on this journey is I have learned to trust myself, I have also learned to love myself more. Now when I look in the mirror I see a very capable strong woman who not going to back down and won’t let anyone persuade me otherwise.

And I guess the icing on top of what has already been an amazing journey this year, of 9 months of learning, is am proud to say I started my first proper developer role in September as a Front-End Developer and I have just successfully completed my first 3 Months and still going strong.

Me at Work.

In just my three months at my job, I have learned a whole lot more also. I have learned about AWS lightsail, Ec2 and launched my own instance/server, WordPress, Drupal, Cross-browser testing, Suzy, SFTP, SSH and PPK keys, Gulp, GSAP, learned new languages such as PHP, Node.js, and Twig, created HTML emails, and so on. And I am looking forward to learning more next year.

I am so excited to share this news, because this is part of what this whole year has been about for me, doing a job that I love getting up for in the morning.

Now I am 26 years old, happily employed and doing what I love and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. And better yet, I was also accepted for another Scholarship in November to help further my learning and development.

My Second Scholarship

So wish me good luck and don’t worry this is just the start for me. Soon I will be introducing a project very dear to me, so watch this space.

If you are interested in reading about my scholarship journey, click here. And if your interest to see what I have worked on this year, my personal portfolio is

If their’s just one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this: When there’s something you really want, fight for it, don’t give up no matter how hopeless it seems. And when you’ve lost hope, ask yourself if 10 years from now, are you going to wish you gave it just one more shot. Because the best things in life, they don’t come free, you have to work hard for them. - Grey’s Anatomy.

So am saying goodbye to 2017 and what an amazing journey I have had this year and very much happily looking forward to what 2018 has in store for me.

If you enjoyed reading this I’d love for you to share, comment, or applaud.

Happy New year and thank you for reading. See you in 2018!

Fey Ijaware

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Software Developer. Food lover. Anime fan. Website: