Grow with Google Udacity Journey
Part 1: The Start of the Journey
Why did you decide to apply for the scholarship program?
My Udacity Journey started last year when I saw an advertisement for the scholarship on a slack channel. I decided why not apply, the worst thing that could happen is for the scholarship committee to say no. The coding bootcamp that I was attending was finishing up and I was afraid that I would stop working on improving my web development skills once it was over.
Going to a coding bootcamp is like your first semester of college. They will show you the basics to get by but it takes time to gain a truly deep understanding of the material. Many bootcamp students once they graduate stop practicing their skills or work on new projects. I did not want this to happen to me. I wanted to pursue my Nanodegree from Udacity to improve on my foundation of the web fundamentals that I was exposed to during my bootcamp but I gained so much more.
Part 2: What Was Accomplished Along the Way
As you progressed through the program, were certain things easier than expected?
Getting through this program was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. During the first phase of the scholarship program, I not only had to finish the work that was given but I also had to participate in the community. By participating in the community it could be just cheering someone who is having a rough time, or answering someone’s question that the posted on the forum or engaging in some discussion on where the industry is headed. I am a shy person and it was scary to talk to strangers but the community was welcoming. I found my voice and it was liberating. I made it onto the second phase of the program and received a scholarship Front-End Development Nanodegree.
During the second phase of the program, life took over. I was working full-time, volunteering, taking care of sick family members and taking a college course. All the while I was being exposed to new coding concepts through my Nanodegree program like Flexbox, unit testing, accessibility, and object-oriented programming. But the most challenging hurdle that I faced during this entire journey was dealing with my own impostor syndrome.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. -Wikipedia
Conversely, were there hurdles you didn’t expect to have to face, or that were more challenging than you expected?
As I kept missing deadlines I had it set in my mind that I could not finish the Nanodegree, but I had a great support system through the Grow With Google Slack community. My group leader, Laura T., kept giving me positive affirmations like ‘You got this!’ or ‘You still have time to finish the program’ this motivated me to push through. The Udacity community were full of people who are willing to help me throughout the way and I picked up a useful lesson during this entire experience.
Dealing with rejection and failure hurts but it is a sign that you are learning something new and you are getting closer to sucking a bit less. The Front-End Nanodegree consisted of 7 projects. For the first project, I had to create a portfolio page using Flexbox. At the time I never heard of this CSS Layout system before and I was convinced that I would not be able to master it. My project got rejected three times before it got approved. It sucked but with each iteration, I got better. To learn more about why failing fast is a good a thing to do check out this video from Extra Credits.
Part 3: Reflection on your Journey
How do you feel now that you’ve completed the program?
I feel proud that I completed this program. I met a lot of cool people along the way. I hope that I will be able to keep in touch.
Imposter Syndrome is real and this experience got me out of my comfort zone and I started trusting my own voice. This sense of community that I got from the Udacity Nanodegree program I want to share this with other developers in my hometown. I’m currently volunteering for meetups such as People of Color Code in Chicago hoping to build a sense of community for people of color who in tech.
Giving back is the greatest reward.
Throughout this year, I learned the best thing you can do for yourself is to be a part of a community. You don’t have to be an expert to give back to a community, answering someone's questions, cheering on a newbie not to give up, it feels good.