Break & Continue

Break & Continue

I got my first 2/4 (after getting mostly 3/4s, one or two 4/4) on the midday check-in assessment on Friday and responded to it with about as much grace as could be expected after not enough sleep the night before:

After the high of yesterday I’m hear to report:
It sucks to get things wrong. It sucks harder to get them wrong, get the answer, and still not understand why they’re wrong.
That’s where I’m at after the midday check-in. Four questions: I got two of them right. Don’t understand where I went wrong on the other two. We’re about to review in a few minutes, when I’ll probably understand, but it’s worthwhile to sit with this feeling of failing.

Access Code purposely doesn't get letter grades, but after 12+ years of a school it's hard not automatically convert a 2/4 to 50% to a failing grade. But the reason that I said it was important for me to sit with the feeling of failure was because it was just a feeling. And feelings pass, and are NOT facts.

I may have gotten lower on the assessment than I would've liked, but that doesn't mean I didn't gain valuable insight and experience from it. And just because I felt I failed, that does not make me a failure. That's an important distinction for me to focus on, because failures give up, but people who fail can persevere, grow, and learn.

When we reviewed the answers to the midday assessment I understood what I'd gotten wrong and why. I did struggle in the second half of class though, post-lunch and during the pair programming (working on the applications of for/for-in/for case/ and while loops). Still working on getting the weekly sleep schedule right, so I hadn't taken enough time with the reading and had trouble focusing during the lecture/review. And this is just difficult work. I'm looking forward to office hours on Monday and my own studying and review today (Sunday).

Pair programming, meeting with our pods (go Mavericks!), and talking with peers after class at a bar down the street from where we meet for class really helped me get perspective. The pair programmer I worked with today pointed out that it was actually better to get something wrong and not understand why rather than miss something because of a little mistake, because at least than the wrong answer was constructive in a bigger way: there's a whole concept to learn, rather than just a syntax error (like mistaking a "let" declaration for a "for," grr).

Sitting with our pods at the end of the day was helpful, too. It helped to hear others' goals, wins, and challenges, as well as think about what they were for me, too. Especially helpful was taking a moment to share my win for the week (my career readiness speech) with other people. One definition of impostor syndrome is not being able to take credit for your skills, so sharing a weekly win with peers helps circumvent that (as well as the pressure I feel as a woman not to brag and lord over people).

The bar was a blast. People opened up and shared in a way that really made me appreciate the other Access Coders and look forward to working with them for the next ten months. I though it especially interesting to hear that people felt intimidated when the rest of the class didn't have questions to ask at the end of concept explanations in lectures (thinking everyone else understood everything), when the truth is sometimes I'm so lost (and tired) that I just don't have it in me to raise my hand or formulate a question.

Next week my goal (besides sleeping more and better time management) is to raise my hand and ask questions more.

ETA: This is an interesting blog post on psychological safety and teamwork. I think psychological safety is what we were developing in pods, pair programming, and even at the bar.

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