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How I learned to stop worrying and love the fu*k-ups

I stared at the blinking cursor on my screen and thought to myself, this is it. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna whip this laptop across the room like a goddamn frisbee.

And then I saw it.

The elusive missing semi-colon that had almost been my undoing and the catalyst in my laptop’s brutal demise. It was nowhere close to the error message my Sass Compiler had identified, but it was what broke my code at the eleventh hour. Of course, all of these debugging tools we have at our disposal to help identify errors are nice, but they’re merely a guideline, not miracle workers. It’s like when you’re the designated driver and you’re trying to get an address from a drunk friend. You might reach your destination without incident or you might end up in the middle of nowhere having flashbacks to scenes from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. So, proceed with caution.

Now, this wasn’t the first time I had been frustrated, it certainly won’t be the last. Since quitting my job and going back to school it has been a fast and furious learning curve. Leaving my comfort zone and embarking on this crazy journey into the world of web development at Juno College meant I’ve had to start doing something I’ve always hated and would typically avoid at all costs... admitting I don’t know everything (and probably never will again) and asking for help when I hit the wall.

For my laptop’s safety and to avoid tearing my own hair out in frustration, I started to force myself to ask for help when I really needed it (i.e. those times my brains were totally scrambled and Google and Stack Overflow failed me). And you know what happened? The world didn’t end, I didn’t die of embarrassment, no one made me feel stupid for asking a question or not knowing something. In fact, most times, people were jumping at the chance to help out the noob.

Are web developers secretly the nicest people on the planet or are they just buttering me up before they ask me to invest in some pyramid scheme? Only time will tell. What I do know is now when I have the chance to help out a fellow aspiring developer, I jump at the chance. Call me crazy, but there may be something to this positive reinforcement stuff.

The hardest part of this journey to date has been accepting that I’m gonna fu*k-up, probably quite often and to varying degrees ranging from mild to catastrophic. But that’s part of the process. My ego still takes a bit of a hit, but I also learn something new every time it happens.

So, I’m off to go fu*k something up today, but I’ll learn something new and be able to tell you how I fixed it later.

Top comments (5)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Love this!

okrohan profile image
Rohan Salunke

Loved it! Thanks for writing. Although I've never met nice people on stackoverflow 🙈.

coreycodes profile image

Well, Stackoverflow is a bit of a different beast I guess LOL! But there are a few on there, I swear!

murrayvarey profile image

I’m gonna whip this laptop across the room like a goddamn frisbee.

That's given me an idea! Introducing ... The FrisbTop.

Programming is like a daily reminder of your own fu*k-ups and fallibility. But then you'll have a win ... and it makes the whole thing worth it.

sophiabrandt profile image
Sophia Brandt • Edited

Great write-up, thanks for sharing!
I had to laugh about the frisbee. 😁