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Other Thoughts on Small Wins

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I had been been stuck, stuck, stuck in the doldrums on my latest Free Code Camp project, the Wikipedia Viewer, in large part because I thought, “Hey, I’m learning Angular. It sounds like a good idea to try and make these next few projects a way to practice that!” But oooooh boy did it expose how much I don’t know!

So for those of you who may have been following my coding journey, I’ve been contributing to a great educational project called Oppia because it is at the intersection of my day job, learning experience design, and my desire to learn to program. The project uses Angular so I’ve been using it for my contributions. Of course, there is a ton of structure already built in and so I’ve been able to learn bits and pieces about working with the framework from studying the code that’s already there. Building an app from scratch proved to be an entirely different beastie! I found myself looking up basically everything. There are docs, of course, and I looked at those but I wasn’t understanding them very well.

I also found myself putting the project off again and again, and piddling around, very unfocused on anything (which partly had to do with other work-related things but it’s a horrible frame of mind to be in). So, I decided to sign up for Code School and go back through the Shaping up with Angular JS course. Now, I’d already completed this months before, but I knew full well that I had got through it without a great understanding. So I figured I would rewatch a few videos.

In the end, I retook the entire course, code challenges and all and an amazing thing happened: I was actually understanding concepts that the instructors talked about! I knew what a directive was! I could make a controller! I didn’t know that about filters! Look, ma! I’m learning!

It was that small, insignificant win of going back to do some things that I had done before that opened up new information (filters were the key to solving that sticky problem that had caused me to abandon ship on the project). Doing those small code challenges provided the momentum I needed to unlock some understanding and propel me forward.

I’ve written about small wins before and this was a great, reminder for me. This is just to say, to myself and to others, when you get stuck, sometimes going back and getting a small win somewhere can help you regain the confidence and the momentum to reengage with something that’s been blocking you.

Here’s the finished project!

See the Pen FCC Wikipedia Search by Kristin Anthony (@anthkris) on CodePen.light

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