Failure and the Fear of It
Turing is hard. No one will tell you otherwise. But it is hard in different ways than I expected it to be.
Sure, learning to code is hard, but that part is manageable. It’s logic and algorithms, which are fun and even therapeutic when you get into a rhythm. Between instructors and Google and pry, I can wrangle most things into functionality, and from there I can clean it up into something I might be willing to show someone. The more I do it, the more naturally it comes, and the cleaner things come out the first time.
The hardest part has been the anxiety and fear of failure, which I’ve found to be crippling at times. Turing is filled with high-functioning, hard-working, intelligent people. We’re all used to being among the best of our peers, but now the stakes are high and everything is new, and many of us are not sure we belong here at all.
There’s no easy solution to this. But here are a few small things that have helped me:
– Don’t write a program — write one test, one method at a time. Those will turn into a whole program eventually. It’s hard to fail moment to moment.
– Go for a walk. Do a headstand. Often things will come to me more clearly after five minutes of movement than an hour digging around in pry. (Do this in moderation of course — your programs won’t write themselves!)
– Do something. If you don’t know how to solve a problem, that’s okay. Try something. Even if you don’t solve it right away, you will learn something about the problem, you will know one thing that didn’t work.
– My value as a person is not defined by my success or failure. Yours isn’t either.