Leveling up: Conquering challenges in JavaScript

After five weeks of strolling along, admiring the foliage that HTML/CSS brought along, we have now encountered the beast. When I say I wasn’t prepared, I mean it may have sound good in theory but in practice...let’s get into that.

At first, I spent the first few days lamenting. "Oh I'm never going to understand this" , " Take me back to HTML/CSS" and "Maybe I'll stick to design jobs," were phrases of comfort. However, by the end of the week I realized my fault. I came into this opportunity to face my fear. I've walked away from programming a few times before and whenever I reached a point where reading a program felt more like reading Klingon, I bailed. Here I am, facing my fears, and more is on the line if I back away.

I had to face the beast, with my best weapon, phoning for help. I’ve only recently come to appreciate the resources at my disposal. As opposed to my last experience of relying on the availability of one person who understood the material in an entire department. There are now several trained professionals I can turn to. I make it sound easy but it took a few days of assuring myself that I wasn’t a bother.

I refused to be afraid, or at least show how afraid I was. It's not that I was afraid of JavaScript just doubtful that I had the capacity to understand the syntax. My first meeting with a mentor went well, actually both did, but instead of pulling out phrases like "I don't think I can", I assumed the confidence of the Little Engine That Could; "I know I can," and "I'm willing to learn" became my armor.

Calming the nerves

Week six and it's gearing up to be a pretty good battle. I've come to utilize the armor at my disposal, and I'm ready to get cracking (pfft, see what I did there;). Heading into next week, I have no idea what new obstacles in JavaScript lie ahead, but I'm willing to learn.

So it's been a week, end of week seven to be exact and I won't lie, I'm afraid. I don't want to step back in the ring though I know I have to. JavaScript takes all of my concentration and when I step away for a second, it feels like I've lost my grip. I guess doubt is the real beast I have to defeat. I'm bouncing outside the ring afraid to tap in. It is difficult but just when I feel I don't understand, I solve a problem and surprise myself. It's the best feeling but the work that goes into problem solving is exhausting. Going into week eight (part 3) of JavaScript I'm going to try to face this doubt head on, I have some new resources I want to try out, like Wes boss's 30 day JavaScript challenge (Thanks Jesse 👋🏾). I'm still exited to see what we get into this week and hopefully everything will start to make more sense.

This week, we've started creating a to-do page. Thank the gods there were no slides, pure hands on work. I could hear the herald angels sing as we'd work through code. With the instructors' concept of call and affirm, others were led to ask the better questions like "okay, so what is this block of code doing"? All of the things we worked on the last couple weeks are being built upon in such a somewhat small project.

Apparently, we've learned the majority of the fundamental concepts and have implemented them in 10 lines of code, so far. With everything from the previous weeks culminating in this assignment its been easier to read though and understand the components. The previous weeks felt like I was taking in more than I could remember, but until this week, I can see that I've retained the information better than I expected.

Praise ‘em

With that perspective, I looked back on a project I did on my own before the program, I created a lined card page with a text area as my to-do page. Comparing my thought process then to what I know now, it's humbling. I made a lined text area then and now I have a page with buttons to edit and delete the form text. The challenge this week was continuing. After last week I was wiped, I felt like JavaScript was exhaustive for no reason. Now, I want to toy with it a bit more, It's still exhausting but I'm seeing the reward.

Didn't think I'd get here, lies, I knew I would I just thought I'd be worse off. Don't get me wrong, I'm exhausted but I'm still going. I'd forgotten my previous concerns about getting here, until a mentor brought it up. I was afraid of getting to a point where I'd be left behind, but I'm not. I was afraid in the first week but now I feel renewed. Another skill, another set of useful tools to arm myself with. I'm still far from being steady though, JavaScript is a constant habit and it's easy to lose my grip.

There’s more to it than…you know the rest

However, I have a few new ways to combat that one being the purchase of the Eloquent JavaScript textbook and the other, Free Code Camp exercises. I could not wrap my head around the textbook the first week but after so many assignments I'm starting to see the patterns and the shortcuts. I'm not afraid of being left behind, I know if I need the time I can slow down and comment the steps. It's been eight weeks, I'm officially a fourth of the way through boot camp and look forward to learning more.

Skill level achieved: JavaScript novice

Victory — ish

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