I like comfort zones. I don’t like going out of them. But I’m forced to acknowledge that doing so is often the only way forward.
I’m nervous as all heck about Outreachy. Excited, sure, but nervous as well. This is my first large project outside of academia/research, and pretty much my first open source project, period, so there’s a lot of learning the ropes as I go. I try to believe in both “you can do anything you set your mind to” and “fail early, fail often, fail quickly”… but I sure as hell hope the former will describe the outcome of this particular attempt, not the latter. :p
A big part of the reason for my nervousness is that I took an unconventional route into the coding arena, and I’ve felt like I’m always playing catch up. A few years ago, I made a career switch, took advantage of the Graduate Diploma option for people with previous degrees, and plunged into third-year classes without prereqs despite barely having written a “Hello World” before. Amazingly, I survived, graduated, and went on to grad school! And I’ve come quite a way from my pre-hello-world days, if I may say so myself. But I often feel that my foundation is weak. Occasionally things crop up that I’m pretty sure I should know, should have learnt in what should have been my first year of compsci classes… but, well, didn’t.
So, I figure I just have to keep plugging on. I need to work on both my competency and confidence, and I can hardly think of a better way to do it than this. My mentors, for the record, have been AMAZING. 🙂 Getting one-on-one guidance from experienced developers has been so invaluable, I regret not having participated in mentorship programs earlier on. Heck, everyone I’ve talked to in Wikimedia has been incredibly helpful and encouraging. Definitely one of the best communities I’ve been in.
Outreachy officially starts next week. Here’s to hoping for a successful run – wish me luck. 🙂