CodeClan Weeks 3-5: SQL, Ruby and Giving Myself Credit

Over weeks three and four of my course at CodeClan we moved from things I felt comfortable with, loops and control flow, to things I felt sure I could learn, classes and object oriented programming, to things I didn't know enough about to even begin imagining how I might fare, SQL.

I've enjoyed it all, but in particular I've found SQL much more fun to work with than I expected. I'm not sure why I was suspicious of it going in, perhaps because it was totally new. Or maybe because the word database doesn't sound particularly thrilling. It's actually really fun, in part because there's such instant gratification when you send a working query off request and get back the results you were hoping for.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a problem with pacing myself. Partly, it's a product of enjoying learning, programming, and learning about programming. However, the further I get into the course the more I've started to suspect that there's something more to my inability to switch off. More than once I've found myself reading until my head hurts and well beyond the point of enjoyment. I've decided that this part of my obsessiveness comes from a deep seated need to be the best.

The thing is, this 'best' really has very little to do with anyone else's abilities: I'm not particularly interested in being better than anyone (shine theory, y'all). It has more to do with a nebulous standard that relates specifically to myself. It's one which changes daily and is, of course, always out of reach. Week five was project week, which unleashed the full force of this not so useful feeling. I had an image of where I wanted to get to in seven days and self flagellated when I thought I wasn't going to make it, without stopping to consider whether or not my plans were realistic in the first place.

At the moment I simultaneously think I'm doing fairly well and also worry that I'm not doing as well as I should be. Who defined this 'should be'? Not my instructors, not my classmates. Certainly not me. This 'should be', or 'best', it doesn't exist. Pacing myself turns out not to be a simple matter of taking a break, going for a walk, knitting a hat or playing a game. I think I'm going to have to figure out how to give myself some credit.