As I’ve been learning to program, there have been some personal hurdles that I’ve run into that have made it harder to progress.  These vary from simple background education, or lack of, to overcoming personal beliefs.
Was math a problem?

I’m a woman, but that age old adage “I can’t do math because my brain isn’t set up that way” was never something that even entered my mind.  I honestly really have issues with women who try to get away with that excuse when it comes to learning math.  It’s just so stupid.  I spent most of my youth in creative pursuits, learning music and producing music, writing and learning other languages.  Those pursuits never interfered from my ability to learn math.  I also never had any teachers that I can remember, who felt that women were less capable when it came to learning mathematics.  I feel that these two aspects are important to understand for my next statement to be taken at face value.

I have never felt I couldn’t do math, but I always felt like math was an option I could always pursue when I felt like it.  One never has a problem finding a math course, almost wherever you go.  When I was in college all I wanted to do was learn things that I might not have access to later in life.  Therefore I learned about languages, alive and dead, history and culture.  I studied subjects less common because they were interesting.  I wasn’t expecting to do anything with my degree beyond satisfy my own need to learn.  Anyways, so the base point, I never took any math in college.  When I started programming I was 5 years out of my undergraduate degree, and I had just taken Math 111 and 112 at the local community college.  Getting over my symbol shock took a bit, because it had been a while.  But that was it, that is my background in mathematics.

That simple lack in a sufficient mathematical background made me apprehensive at first when I decided to learn to program.  I knew that it would be logic and math heavy, but I knew that I was intellectually capable and that I had a math grad student (Robey) to help me out when I needed.  I think that’s why, in some ways, when I was presented with one of the first Problem Set’s I fought it.  It was regarding prime numbers.  I didn’t fight it because I felt incapable of learning and using math, but because of my recognition of just how much I didn’t know.           

Learning to stay focused by using music

Another hurdle that presented itself was learning how to use the energy and creativity of music while still being able to think.  That took time.  While I was still getting over programming symbol shock it was almost impossible to listen to music while trying to program.  It wasn’t until recently that I truly felt able to program while listening to music.  Once I was able to do so, I saw an increase in the amount I programmed, and in the enjoyment from programming.  I definitely started feeling the creativity of the music and the energy, and my code thus improved.  That’s all I can think of for now.  I’ll keep you posted as I realize/jump more hurdles.

Up Next Time: Mental health check-in