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Finding an Edge

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These last two weeks have been the hardest, or the most frustrating, of my time at Turing so far.

I’ve been put a little off-balance by this difficulty, and I think I’m close to uncovering some useful tidbit or idea that will serve me well, and might serve someone else too.

Several different people warned me that

Mod 3 is just like mod 1 in terms of difficulty

I wasn’t sure what to make of that, because Mod 1 wasn’t too bad of a struggle. I think I gave myself a bad case of the “mismatched expectations”.

Expectations #

Often when something seems off, a good place to start is to check your assumptions. So, I figured I’d look through mine about how I thought the last two weeks would go. What were my assumptions?

My technical understanding is sufficient to grasp the new material and implement in a project #

This week we’ve unpacked a few sizable new topics:

  • oAuth/OmniAuth for user authentication (against Twitter and Github)
  • Using Figaro to protect sensitive environment variables
  • Using Faraday to handle all the HTTP traffic
  • OmniAuth’s stubs/testing tools
  • VCR to record API responses, so every time we run our tests we’re not pounding a remote API
  • Stubbing out all the necessary user information so we can write detailed tests, using OmniAuth config settings, VCRs, and more.

Turns out picking up this all, weaving it together, and applying to a project is hard.

I’ve not mastered this content the same that I feel like I’ve mastered other notions in the program.

This is not the end of the world, but it didn’t match my (unreasonable) expectations.

I’d be the “anchor” in any group work #

I’ve tried to generally be the “strong” contributor to group projects, and so far in Turing, I have been.

Then this last one around, I felt like I was dragging, holding my partner back. I learned a lot, but I’d hoped that there was less to learn along the way. To her credit (and in my defense) I think she’s one of the sharpest students in the cohort, so it’s possible that if I were paired with someone else, my contributions would have seemed more significant.

That whole first week I felt off. Sleep deprived (dumb!) and a bit off-kilter.

Learnings from the weeks #

Trust the process #

I’ve still got what seems to be a passable system for gaining new (and complex) information.

I started feeling underwater when I stopped following it.

I can step back, return to my colorful notes and diagrams, rely on repetition and memorization and playing with the same notion quite a bit until it clicks and I can fit it into the larger product.

Feeling a few steps behind is nothing in the grand scheme of things.

This week did not do irreparable damage to my employability (I don’t think) so there was no real penalty.

Lessons to retain for later #

  • Embrace uncertainty
  • Expect to learn a lot
  • Write it all down
  • Repetition repetition repetition