Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If You Have Doubts, You Are Not Alone.

Ah, time. Finally, right? It's only two days after the New Year and I finally have the time I have been wanting for so long to do all the things I have been thinking about. I am working on my husband's website, trying to write my own programs, researching topics I have no idea about like Ruby on Rails, and I just finished requesting a handful of books to read to make me a better programmer. This all sounds great. Even as I type this post, I think to myself this is the life you have dreamed about for so many days. So why do I feel so nervous, on edge, uncomfortable on the inside?

One reason is the more I learn and dive into programming the more I think, "This really is a lot to learn. What if I can't do this?" Don't get me wrong. I knew learning to program would be a huge learning experience. The depth to programming is one of the reasons I picked it as a new career. Yet, it can feel overwhelming at times to learn all there is to know to really be a programmer. This and knowing that there are people in programming that have been programming and learning this trade since they were young feels incredibly intimidating. These people have many years on me, and here I am, a beginner at 40.  I keep seeing people online who are working with all these different languages and learning the newest developments while I just completed my Java SE6 course(2007 textbook). It feels impossible to catch up. This makes me think, "What was I thinking when I made the decision to leave my career as a teacher and start all over again from scratch?!?"

Then I try to remind myself of what I felt when I first started learning to be a teacher. I felt surprised at how much I needed to know; so I worked hard to read and learn everything I could. My hobbies for the first four years of teaching consisted of reading research and taking extra classes. I gained my skill set from watching teachers and speech and language pathologists that were very talented and copied from them. Working with special needs students was a daunting task on top of learning the art of teaching. The analysis that went into understanding how my students' brains worked and the rules that their brains operated under was a real challenge for me for a very long time. That took me many years to really understand, but I did. I left that career feeling very confident in my skills as a teacher.

So the reality is, this is what it feels like to learn something new and take a huge risk. There are many other people in my classes doing the same thing, and I think we all must feel this way. There are many days life feels too hard to try and take on learning a new career. We have families that need us and things that arise that we don't plan for. These are the times we have to keep going, even though we think we might end up being a failure in the end and all this work won't get us to where we want to be. This is the time when we pay our dues. Nothing comes with a guarantee and there are no shortcuts.

So for the next few weeks, I am going to try and turn my brain off. This time after all is invaluable to have and doesn't come around very often. And if I have a hard time doing that, I have to remind myself that everything good I have in my life I have had to work really hard for and did pay off in the end.