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Career Journey,  Coding,  Online Learning,  Perseverance,  Self Doubt

Self-Doubt – This Coding Thing Ain’t Easy!

Send help, self-doubt is kicking in….!

You may have seen from my last career post I have signed up to an Introduction to Computer Services course. I have watched 2 lectures thus far, and going through the lectures I was like, ‘yup I get it’, answering the lecturer’s questions, making loads of notes, etc. Come to the homework (or pset – problem set – as everyone calls it on the forum) for week 1 and I am lost. I do the first exercise OK, mainly because it is exactly what the lecturer discussed in the lecture, and then the rest go way over my head. I have to figure them out by myself and I. Don’t. Get. It!

Now, of course, self-doubt starts to set in;

  • Why did I think I could do this?
  • Why did I think I could keep up with a Harvard course?
  • Why, after 8 years of not being in a single class, did I think I could just go back to school?
  • The others in the forum are moving on to further weeks, evidently, I’m not smart enough….

But this kind of negative self-doubt won’t help anything. So, what am I going to do about it?

  1. Give up? I mean I didn’t pay for the course, so what would it matter? Plus, I’ve only told my bestie and my dad (plus you guys) about it soooo I could pretend like it never even happened.
  2. Persevere? I have until December 2020 to complete the course and when else will I have the time to dedicate to learning how to code? Something I’ve always wanted to learn but never had the time or money to do so.

I realise this is me acting out because I am used to instant gratification. It has only been 2 lectures and I’m already thinking about throwing in the towel?! Absolutely not! Admittedly I don’t want it to take me the rest of the year, because soon enough I’ll have a little one to look after, but I have time now.

Wise words from the amazing Nelson Mandela…

My plan of action: start all over again!

  • Start from week 0, watch the lecture and take fresh notes. Spend the rest of the week practising what is spoken about. Taking the time to fully understand how to make things work and why it works, rather than relying on the word of the lecturer.
  • Move on to week 1 and rewatch the lecture next Monday. Make sure there are no distractions (the first time around, Hubby came down to the living room and started watching Fresh Prince – I may not have given the lecture my full attention…)
  • Watch the week 1 additional videos to help with knowledge and understanding, before going on to the pset.
  • Spend 2 hours a day on pset1, practising and working things out for the rest of the week.
  • I need to do more than just the bare minimum. Coding isn’t something I can just coast in, it takes practice and continual learning. Just a couple of dedicated hours a day could go a long way.
  • Most importantly, from now on, rather than berate myself, realise I am learning a whole new language and way of thinking. It will take time! Plus, 2/3 students in this class have no prior knowledge of Computer Sciences and do well, so there is hope.

I think perseverance is my word of the week. If there is something you’ve always wanted to learn and you find yourself with more time on your hands, thanks to Covid, then check out the Harvard free courses, you might surprise yourself…

Mrs. A


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