Week 3 at Recurse Center: Feelings Check-in

This week, I did a one-day round-trip to DC to teach a workshop on digital video, and the next day I came back and paired (although that term is very generous, essentially I was tutored-on-this, and I’m very grateful) on making a square wave audio tone in Rust, which also included having to think about how soundwaves are created and digital audio can be produced, at that level. Which I think I understood in theory but not in practice. I felt funny – like, on Tuesday I’m allegedly the expert, and the next day I’m feeling clueless about nearly the same stuff, but one layer deeper. But that’s why I’m here, right? Also, I truly do not know how math works. I’ve lamented over this mediocre education a lot in my life but there’s no use in dwelling on it now, but it does make me feel frustrated. Anyway, I am seeking to look on the bright side about this, because it’s better to be around a bunch of impressive brilliant smart kind people and be striving towards that, growing and learning, instead of being complacent somewhere else.

Starting to feel a bit nervous about productivity and output, and was really feeling the crunch of feeling like I’m not making progress because I’m not producing things. The learning curve for Rust is high at first, and the code produced is very efficient and small. I think it’ll be worth it in the long run, but it’s still hard when I’m used to doing a lot of front-end work with rapid nice-looking deployments. I also caught a cold and spent a lot of time wallowing and whining about it (so thanks everyone putting up with me, and everyone I have now infected with germs!) and feeling unable to think or speak clearly. I didn’t write a lot of code this week and I am trying to feel at peace with that. I know it’s important to also spend time doing other things during the day while at RC, but I am trying to be conscious of how much of the past 3-4 years of my life have involved ostensibly programming positions but end up with me taking on a lot of that other important labor: chasing bugs as an old-code maintainer, QA and testing, writing, gathering people, UX/design, communication and community-building, et cetera, and how much I do want to actually become a better programmer. I think my essential gripe is less about productivity and more about how I am trying to be conscious of how it is easy for me to fall back into old habits because they let me avoid running towards hard problems. I still might run back into JavaScript’s loving arms for a short time to produce things, which is a phrase I never thought I would ever, ever say. The week ended on a high note though (no pun intended! jeez, y’all!), which will end up in a blog post of its own.