As you may know, my In Depth project this year is learning how to code. Specifically, learning the programming language C# and making some kind of final project to test my skills! In my last blog post, I talked about some of the things I had discussed with my mentor. Throughout my time so far, I’ve realized that learning a coding language is slightly more difficult then I thought. I’m constantly confused, and even though I know that I’m being taught the basics, I can’t help but be a little frustrated. It might be that I’m used to doing things that give me immediate results, but I still know that I’m making good progress.

1. What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?

So far, there isn’t really anything my mentor can do in terms of teaching me yet. In my last blog post, I talked about how I realized that learning a coding language isn’t really something that can be done by sitting down and having a conversation. Learning how to code requires hands-on practice, with a lot of emphasis on ‘practice’. Still, my mentor has been very helpful in answering any questions I might have and has introduced to different resources. One of the conversations I first had with my mentor, was about the kind of final project I wanted to build. He told me that my final project would determine the different things I would have to learn about coding, besides just the language itself.

3. What learning challenges emerged?

I’m realizing that learning a coding language is exactly what it says; I’m learning an entirely new language! When I first started out, I thought that I would be able to get this done within a month. Now, I realize that learning a coding language will probably take a massive amount of time, probably 2-3 months to learn the basics and another month to get somewhat comfortable with it. By the end of my project, I probably still won’t know everything about the language, as even in English, there’s always something new that Mr. Morris introduces to us. Still, I think that the biggest challenge blocking my way is not the material, but my own impatience. I’m finding that I’m often getting frustrated with my progress. I realized that I’m used to gaining immediate results, and starting something that is actually proving to be a challenge is something that I’m going to have to adjust to.

a. What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?

I’m trying to be more patient and not rush through the material. Learning a coding language is the same as learning English or any other language! There’s a format you have to follow. Without grammar, English would make no sense. I realized that my progress will be slow (very slow), but immensely rewarding. I’ve been trying to keep my eyes on the goal so that my vision won’t get blurred by the red fog of frustration.

4. What logical challenges affected your communication?

When I talk with my mentor, I’ve realized that the biggest challenge was the fact that I simply hadn’t learned the language yet! My mentor can’t really teach me the language itself, as I need to practice speaking (or typing) the language, and even before that, I need to know the grammar of the language, like nouns or verbs (strings, booleans..). When my mentor started talking about ideas for my future project, he went into the specifics of the different projects I could do. In my last post, you might have read that I was planning on building an API. When he started talking about the code that went into building an API, and the other specific things I would have to build, I was gone. Lost. Stuck in a whirlwind of terminology that I didn’t understand. In that moment, I was slammed into a brick wall and I realized, ‘I’ve gotta get my language learned, and fast’. This realization is also one of the reasons why I’ve been slightly frustrated by my slow progress. I want to learn more about the things I can do and communicate with my mentor efficiently, but I have to learn the learn the language, and that takes time.

a. What factors affected your ability to interact effectively?

Another factor that affected my ability to interact efficiently was probably my nervousness. I found it hard to communicate comfortably at first, and I would often sit rigidly for a while and my brain would go blank. It’s not that my mentor is mean or intimidating or anything, I just feel quite dwarfed by the idea of learning an entirely new language in just 5 months, probably less. After the session, I’ve had to clarify things a lot as I simply couldn’t remember the specifics of what he talked about. Recently, it’s gotten much better and I’m able to engage more in the conversation, but I still need to work on being more relaxed.

Overall, my In Depth project is going well. I have thrown my unrealistic and not SMART goal of learning a coding language in less than 2 months into the trash can of my mind and am more patient with myself. I’m really excited to see what I am going to be able to do using my slowly developing skill!