• Brooke Bachman

Overcoming the Fear of Failure, after you have failed

It was the 7th week at Flatiron School, we were beginning Javascript.


I had about 20 hours of Javascript experience a few months prior.


Our teacher warned us that switching languages would have a learning curve.


I felt like I had done a bit of studying, I had just done really well on my Ruby on Rails exam.


I felt like I was finally getting into a rhythm with my Bootcamp.


My boyfriend and I spoke and talked about how we thought that I could relax a tiny bit, and not be so rigorous with my studying.


The weekend before the Javascript test my family came into town. I had a plan to study a lot on Sunday and Monday, I also felt very confident at the beginning of the Javascript module.


The weekend did not go as planned, I got into a disagreement with a best friend on that Sunday and felt so upset, I didn't study.


Monday I studied really hard, but Tuesday I could not complete the test,


A lot of us did not do as well as we hoped so I felt like nothing was wrong at this point.


I would just study really hard for the retest. I studied all week as hard as I could.


I had 3 or 4 sessions with my tutor on top of completing 5/7 practice tests.


On Friday, I was so excited for the test I jumped right in without fully reading the directions.


Our tests are 90 minutes long.


I am 35 minutes into the test, and my teacher points out I was on the wrong path.


I spend the rest of the test repairing what I messed up. I come really close to completing the test but I don't.


If you do not pass the retest you do your project for that module by yourself.


At first I saw my solo project as a punishment.


However, I quickly realized the opportunity ahead of me.


I came up with an idea that I was really excited about.


Friday of project week I need to present my project to two teachers and they will ask me to do some live coding.


They then decide if you are able to move onto the next module or not.


Thursday the self doubt creeps in. I feel really upset. I was terrified of being held back, of repeating Javascript and prolonging my bootcamp by 6 weeks.


I freak out, get a pep talk from my sister and boyfriend and realize that I am here to LEARN.


It does not matter how long it takes, it matters that I learn.


Friday I am able to complete what the teachers ask of me. I got to a really great place of acceptance.


The teachers deliberated for 2 hours. I was at peace, if I was held back that was what was meant to be.


The teachers called me in and they told me I would be repeating Javascript.


I said okay.


They were surprised by how calm I was but I let them know I did all of my freaking out the night before.


Each cohort is 6 weeks apart. My new cohort was just beginning Rails.


I had 3 weeks until my new cohort would be in Javascript.


They told me I could choose however I wanted to spend the 3 weeks.


I was not required to come in and I could rest or work on whatever I thought would further my learning.


I chose to be determined. I chose to come into school EVERY SINGLE DAY.


I still came in an hour early and stayed the whole day.


I worked on my Rails project.


I started a brand new Javascript frontend, Rails backend project.


As the 3rd week grew nearer, I began doing practice tests.


I know had new materials I could study, my first test and my second test.


I did 1-2 practice tests every.single.day. for 12 days.


The test was coming up. When I let my mind wander, it would tell me, "You still do not know the material, you will never pass Javascript. You won't be a developer."


Each time I heard that I would do another practice test.


The day of the test I was nervous, this was a moment I had been waiting for for now a full month.


The first part of this test we do in a video chat room (because everything is remote now, from Corona Virus), the second part we do a live coding challenge with our teacher on the zoom chat.


The first portion was HARD. It was way harder than both of my previous tests.


I went slow, I told myself I could do it. I kept working at it and working at it.


The time was winding down, I had 3 minutes left. My project worked 1 time but I needed it to work 20 more times.


It would not iterate over the data.


My teacher pops in and asks "Do you need help with anything?" at this point I was so terrified of asking for help, her seeing I yet again do not know this material.


She pointed me in the right direction, and within 1 minute all of my code worked perfectly.


The first half was done. But I felt terrible, I felt like I had failed, I was worried my teacher would not think I improved over the past month.


I had a break while my teacher did the live coding with other students.


My boyfriend's parents sent me this quote by Werner Erhard,


"What’s so is always just what’s so. What’s so doesn’t care what you think, feel, intend or wish; it will not bend. You can be freaked out or driven over what’s so, and it won’t change what’s so. If you’re late for an appointment, getting freaked out about it won’t have you arrive any earlier. If you’re having a bad day, being freaked out won’t change what’s so. That which you seek will not bring you satisfaction – aligning with what’s so will. When you’re upset, you’re never upset over what’s so. What’s so is just what’s so, and you’re upset. "


I decided I could not change part 1. I needed to refocus, be positive and do my absolute best in part 2.


Part 2 My teacher is on the video chat. She explains what I need to do. She says that I need to talk her through my code, and explain how I plan to tackle the problem.


I was coding like a maestro conducting the most magnificent symphony in the world. (see below Marin Alsop)





My problem-solving skills were in full gear. I was able to tell a story to my teacher about how I would solve the problem and what I would do next.


I was able to have DRY, correct, working code.


It felt like bliss, like the greatest accomplishment. She told me she was so proud of me and how I understood everything.


It was a huge success, a huge triumph over fear, self-doubt, and my horribly negative intrusive thoughts.


I now feel so confident with Javascript, I feel like I could teach it. I know as well as I know Ruby.


Now I feel like I can conquer anything. I have proved to myself I can overcome, I can be hardworking. I can learn something that was once difficult.


There are too many people who do not discuss their failures and only share their triumphs.


But, in order to be someone who fights for what they want, there has to be some failure.


I know a career in coding will be full of disappointments, failures, and challenges, but each day that I wake up and give 100% I know I am growing, I am learning and I am capable.


Keep Trying. Keep Learning. Keep Failing!



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