Hard Work Doesn’t Guarantee Success, No Work Guarantees Failure

“Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’”. Here’s more of a personal story about me and my coding adventure. Multiple times i’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough or if I’m like a fraud.

It started what I feel like was a little too early to started feeling this way, but, When I first though about joining a coding bootcamp instead of going back to college, I tried several free bootcamp prep sites. At first I felt fantastic, like wow! I can do this all day and it’s so cool how I can cram so much information in such little time! I was learning basic HTML and very little CSS as a prep, but then I hit a wall, a wall that felt impossible to get through, it was really discouraging. So I then moved onto another prep website and so on until I landed on Flatiron School where they had an intensive bootcamp prep. So I applied thinking I was somewhat ready to handle the real deal stuff. I was so excited and was ready to work super hard.

Learning Basic Javascript

I applied to Flatiron School, with that, I received a giant pre-work lab set, where I got to either learn Javascript or Ruby. Preferably I should of done both before attending the school but I chose the path of the front-end with Javascript. At first it felt like a breeze, I felt so invincible and then WHAM! Giant wall, I couldn’t figure it out. I felt like it was impossible and at the time I felt like it would be cheating if I decided to google for some type of lead, such as a looping, and how to use it properly. Finally went to an in person study night that the school hosted and I found that its encouraged to google and help others on top of it! But now came another problem, feeling like I rely too much on google, stack overflow and other sites. Looking into the future, thinking of what if I can’t find the answer? I don’t want to look like a fool in front of my peers or teachers if I got accepted. So, I struggled, heavily. I’ve reached a breaking point in my prep where I second guess my choices; am I really cut out for this? Did I get lucky with certain things working? During the technical interview for the school… will I be able to explain my work without looking like a fraud? It hit me. Imposter syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome hitting me

I started to lose faith, something I really shouldn’t have done in hindsight. I started to procrastinate heavily, I delayed my technical interview because I didn’t feel ready at all and did not want the interviewer to think that I wasn’t cut out for the career path and shut me down. I talked to a friend to help me find something to help shake it all off. I told her my situation, she answered with “ask for help”. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s encouraged in the community from my experiences. So I did just that; I went to another study night at the school, made the long two hour trip and halfway reaching my destination
I got hit with it again. I wanted to turn around, but I knew what I had to do, I had to ask for help instead of struggling and becoming more frustrated in trying to find an answer all by myself. I met a student that was extremely helpful, he was in the fourth module(out of five) in the course, he helped me with the problems I’ve been having with Javascript. Gave me advice on how to approach problems in Javascript, try everything you know, google, test, test, test, if all else fails, ask for help in person or online. People are out there willing to help. He showed me how to use loops properly in Javascript. He also let me practice a technical interview with him, he asked what everything did and how to refactor or add new features to the file. When we finished, he said “You’re ready, you got this, gonna kill the technical interview, just stay calm.”

Finally understanding whats going on

I needed that second study night, I’m so thankful to the school and the student for helping me realize on what I have to do. It’s ok to have a rough patch, its ok to ask for help, but for everything to go well, you need to put the work in and not give up as cliche as it sounds. The next day I scheduled my technical interview, one month away and I was ready, at least I thought I was. I used Rubber Duck Debugging(wrote a story about that one) for some time before the day, but the closer the date came, the more of the feeling of imposter syndrome was hitting once again.

Imposter Syndrome hitting before the date

The day came and went and I felt so many mixed feelings, I had a couple of friends, my parents, and the one student believe in me. I didn’t want them to feel as if I failed them. I never had a feeling of pure confidence in doing great in the interview but contradicting it with feeling like at the same time I screwed up too many times and coming off very nervous to the interviewer. I thankfully passed and got accepted! The reaction from my mom will stick with me forever when she found out. Tears of joy in finding something I can do for pretty much for the rest of my life, I enjoy the challenge from coding, being able to build things and to be able to show people projects is pretty awesome.

The feeling I had being accepted and passing the interview

School began, 40 hour weeks in school, 20 hours of traveling a week, 60 hour weeks in total. It was rough. It took a toll on me, several times I’ve thought over and over again if I just got lucky, Imposter Syndrome seems to lurk around here and there. I was told by a teacher that Imposter Syndrome can stick around for a while, leave, be there forever, it doesn’t matter; you have to persevere, put the work in and you’ll always find the answer you're looking for. My classmates were a huge help, whenever I felt like I was lagging behind or just utterly lost. They were there to help, along with the teachers of course. They were some of the nicest and smartest people I ever had the pleasure in meeting. Imposter syndrome is what you make of it; you can let it eat you up, you can have it make you procrastinate, cause self doubt, but, you can’t quit. I’ve learned that any of us can overcome just about anything. “Hard Work Doesn’t Guarantee Success, No Work Guarantees Failure.”

Thank You for Reading!