Things My First Semester in Software Development Has Taught Me

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As I write this, it’s finals time and I’m SO CLOSE to being finished for the semester. As I drink 3 different forms of caffeine each day (all healthy kinds, don’t worry – is that an oxymoron?) and do homework around the clock, I decided to take a break to write this post! So, here’s what I’ve learned this semester:

  1. TAKING BREAKS = NECESSARY! I’m the kind of person who can’t easily rest unless something’s finished. With that being said, taking breaks has been really difficult for me. However, if any of you are familiar with programming languages, you know that fixing bugs in your programs can be maddening. I sometimes get downright angry when things aren’t working out. What I’ve found though is that mental burnout is a thing, and you MUST take breaks to avoid it. My fiancé told me that in an article he read, the mind works best working 52 minutes on, and then 10 off. So walking away to do the dishes or to go for a run has been essential.
  2. SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT HAS BEEN THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER LEARNED. I’ve learned that it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever learned (lol). What made me want to start on an endeavor that involves making sense of words and symbols that look like a 3 year old just mashed on a keyboard for a while? Great question! Because I get to create things, and I believe that’s when people are the happiest. I keep telling myself that to limit the discouragement of it’s difficulty. When things get tough, remind yourself why you started! Is anything really easy anyways? Not really…
  3. I AM NOT PERFECT and I shouldn’t beat myself up over not being perfect. Should we always try really hard? Definitely. But sometimes all that you can do is all that you can do (if that makes sense). For example, in my JavaScript class the grading method is ridiculous. It’s tough, it’s not forgiving, and it’s full credit or none at all. I’m not creating perfect JavaScript programs in my first semester of learning it. Do I try my dangdest?! Yes. Do I work all the time at it? Yes. But accepting the reality that sometimes a 4.0 is not always achievable is sometimes necessary- and it’s OK as long as you know you’ve done your best.
  4. IF IT’S NOT HARD, THE REWARD ISN’T AS SPECIAL. This is pretty self-explanatory. I love to learn, and I love to be creative. To me there aren’t many things as fulfilling as learning something you know is difficult for you and improving upon that skill. It instills confidence and pride. My nerves were killing me in the beginning because I have zero tech skills…half of the class had already built computers before enrolling in theses courses! Not me…That’s why we should feel proud and accomplished especially when what we’re doing isn’t easy.

 

And that’s really all I’ve got for today! I hope these lessons can relate to you in some way!

Laura

 

 

 

Feature photo credit: Chris Ried on Unsplash.com

 

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