How hard is hard work?

It’s a bomb, or rather I bombed… an assessment.

So I had my 109 Basic Ruby interview assessment for Launch School (LS) at 2AM in the morning, and unfortunately it did not go as I hoped, not even close. There was a big disparity between what I expected and the results. Nobody likes failing, and when one fails then negative thoughts and doubts follow, possibly even a little embarrassment. Now, I wanted to do the assessment — I was confident enough. Maybe I should have waited longer, made obvious by the fact that I bombed it, but I wanted to do it anyway, knowing full well it might not go as I wanted. I can do any number of exercises, readings and watch videos, but it’s hard to gauge my progress unless I am really challenged.

You could argue that it’s a waste to use an assessment.

I’ll start off by saying that I did not finish all the exercises before taking the assessment, and it most certainly would not have hurt to finish it before. However, I did spend most of the time I had available studying in other ways. I did CODEWARS, practiced and built upon exercises from the videos provided by LS, reviewing things that I felt I struggled with the most. So despite not doing all the exercises, I believed I studied smart — spending many hours on something doesn’t mean the time was spend efficiently or smartly.

Taking all of this inconsideration I can safely say the problem wasn’t not spending enough time studying. I believe the problem is more problematic. The main point is that it wasn’t enough, and the biggest wakeup call was my perception of what ‘enough time’ is. Everything from 100 to 109 amounts to quite a lot, but it doesn’t seem like that at first. Some people fly through the course and retain all or more than others, each person is different and is able to achieve the results with different amount of work put in to it.

So everyone is different, which is why this is very important. There is no such thing as “spending too much time” on something, including in coding. I have deadlines and a time frame in which I would like(need) to finish this course. Not just finish it, but achieve “MASTERY” in it — Not scrape the bottom and barely pass, but pass with high standard and achievement that I can rely on and be proud of reaching.

I mean, “If you do something, do it right!”, right?

However, what is the point of a deadline if you do not achieve the goal you set out to achieve. Deadlines are in some cases good for motivation, if they are extendable and achievable. You can’t write a 400-page novel in 2 hours, so trying to do that is not only unrealistic, it’s foolish.

I understand that it’s not so much how long you study as it is how well you study, as I mentioned earlier. Both are important, but studying smart is definitely the ‘smart’ thing to do. Launch School is not the only one talking about “Mastery based learning”. There are dozens of posts and blogs about students talking about smart studying, and not setting deadlines, and taking one’s time to do everything properly, but it’s hard to understand and grasp that if you haven’t necessarily experienced it yourself.
Every time I saw someone talk about those topics, I listened, but I didn’t really break it down and truly understand it well enough or take it to heart as well as I should have. It is hard to truly understand someone else’s experiences. The instructor made a good point. “What’s ‘studying hard’?” Define what counts as “studying hard”. It’s like asking how long a string is. — The answer is that it’s different for everyone and doesn’t really matter. If it takes you 200 hours to what someone else did in 100 hours, then that’s just something you have to do and accept. Re-evaluating how you study might improve the time spend on something, but the effort needed to achieve the end goal is different for us all.

My failure in this assessment(my own words, not LS) sucks — it’s not nice, but I learned that I have a lot to learn and am in dire need to re-evaluate my study habits. I have not lost my motivation, nor my desire to reach high standards of achievement!

So in closing, I should have waited, I should have done many things differently, but I believe I needed this fail in order to succeed. Each failure has a positive side that should be noted and remembered, because what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger… if we let it.

I’m not used to putting my thoughts to writing, so this blogging is a learning experience in itself.

EDIT: When I use the word “FAIL” it is purely my own words, and not LS. I believe the term they use is “Not Yet”, which has a much more positive usage and meaning than simply “failed”.