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Melting Down and Coming Back

Previously on Digital Doll….

I have had a massive break from all things code and learning.  I finished my CS50 course at the end of 2014 on an extreme high that plummeted in to a bit of a directionless mess.  Over the past couple of years I have dibbed in and out of a few other different online courses looking at JavaScript and some of the fancy pants libraries that goes along with but I lost my way a bit and managed to lose the joy I had found in discovering new ideas and skills.  Instead I started grinding myself down about how I would never know enough or be good enough to create anything of worth.

I am a huge advocate of being kind to yourself, telling all the people that I care about that they should speak to themselves as they would do a good friend, I have realised I am also a huge hypocrite (advice is so easy to dish out and hard to follow).  I am blessed with a inner voice of doom that tells me terrible demotivating and self confidence wrecking rubbish:

” you won’t being able to do that!”

“you won’t know where to start”

“you’re too old to start something new”

“you’re wasting your time”

…and so on and on and on.

Feeling this way put me in a bad mindset, thinking that that is also how others saw me.  I had begun to dread the question “so what do you do?” – hearing the emphasis on the DO and feeling totally worthless, feeling judged that my kiddios are off at school and I am at home hiding beneath houseperson chores and slowly spiralling into an oblivion of facebook and internet shopping.  I felt ashamed of myself.  Boooooooo!

Now….

So I have had a break, a big BIG break and I’m back feeling fresh and reinvigorated with a completely different aim and outlook.

Home has settled down a lot; from wrangling two tiny children to having both girls at school to getting more, undisturbed sleep and having Mister IT-Rex working closer to home and being present a lot more.  Life is good and I finally have some time and focus and IDEAS!  More importantly I have found a spark of self motivation.

I have been trying to decide what it is that I want to do when I grow up.  I am very lucky and have a super supportive husband that wants me to find something satisfying to do rather than shipping me out to work asap.  I am currently trying my best to mute that inner voice of evil El, and to the IT-Rex’s delight have tentatively started trying some stuff out.  I think I have left it a bit too long to take up the ballet dancing career that I had my sights on when I was five but I  do have quite a few ideas for some applications / websites / inventions that I am going to see if I can make.

So I am starting out again, attempting to find and dust off everything I have already learned and  I have started a short course on how code for iOS and OS X using Swift.   Instead of ploughing through the one thing, with it getting stale or unengaging I am going to do this alongside planning out some of my ideas and picking something to start with.  I am then going to see what else I need to know to make it happen and will travel along that path.  I am also going to look in to persuing some other frivolous things on the side, something arty or wordy (or both) and fun.

And you know what evil El voice twin?  If it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter, I will go and try something else!

Coming soon…..

Interesting bits and pieces, fripperies, inventings, stuff, jam and mystery!

Finishing CS50x and a Huge Thank You

So at the time of my last post I was still submerged deeply within the CS50 course, panicking wildly about creating and submitting a final project.

The good news is that it is done and I passed!  What I wasn’t anticipating is just how hard it would be.  There were many tears, frustrations and self doubts.  Testament to this is just how long it has taken me to sit down and think / write about it here on the site (5 months!).

Overall I am slightly disappointed that (as per the brief) I haven’t changed the world with my project, but hey there is still plenty of time for that.  I decided to create a meal planning tool, I thought this would be achievable and useful to me personally.  I felt that I would have a good base to go from having completed  one of my assignments that covered SQL and PHP which then tied in to a web application front end.  Then came the realisation that I know so little, what seemed a fairly simple idea soon sprawled out into a huge mess of things that I didn’t understand or couldn’t fathom how to work.  I started to get very stressed and soon even ‘simple’ things I should’ve known how to get started with seemed a million miles away.

Cue meltdown…..

The huge thankyou goes to the IT-Rex who put up with my melting down for all of about a week, who then told me to pull my socks up and helped me take a step back and apply what I had been learning, which it seems was not just to speak ‘computer’.  I had forgotten the approach used for every single assignment that I had done previously; breaking the problem down into manageable parts and tackling them step by step, working through each piece logically (thanks CS50!).  IT-Rex also read my code for me (over and over and over) and acted as a translator when I just couldn’t get my head round the techy speak of servers and databases and connections and so on.

So after a fraught couple of weeks it was done, the presentation video uploaded and marked within a couple of days – PASS.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 11.11.50

On to the next chapter…