(Quick note, sorry for not making a post yesterday, I stayed up pretty late doing homework, and couldn’t muster the energy to think about writing. By the way today’s post starts a little bit depressing, so just a fore-note.)

Around you, there’s a hubbub of commotion, people engaged in animated discussion, and an air of inquisitiveness and thoughtfulness permeates the room. But in your head, there is only silence. The words on the computer monitor, almost foreign except that you’ve seen them before, know what they mean. Ideas float by ethereally, as thoughts fluctuate between ideas and bitter disappointment at being incapable of rendering your ideas a reality.

The subconscious tapping of your hand brings you back to reality. The pent-up emotion that has been souring inside nudges you to the brink of a vast, dark pit. Another thought, another brief moment of hopelessness passes over you, and you fall over the edge.

“I give up. I can’t do this anymore.”

Sitting with your head in your hands, you slump forward in your chair unable to motivate yourself, unable to act rationally. Your partner next to you starts to say something, but you walk out for the restroom, letting the weight of incompetence, the burden of guilt, and the encumbrance of acknowledgement hang over you as you push the door open, and leave. It’s the feeling of uselessness, knowing that you aren’t good enough to solve the problem, not good enough to make things work out. It’s the nagging feeling that things didn’t have to be this way, and that things worked out because you made the terrible decisions that led to the current situation. It’s the acceptance that it’s no one’s fault that put you in this situation, that the blame is truly yours.

You feel the torrents pushing against the dam, and a bit of the reservoir sloshes over the edge. Only realizing that you’re not alone in the restroom prevents you from losing it. As soon as you’re alone, you close yourself off mentally, leaving yourself completely alone.

What’s the point anyways? It’s not like I want this in my futureI’m a failure, I should have listened to them. This is on me this time.

You walk back to the room a different person. Something inside has broken, something that was strained until it shattered into a thousand different pieces. However, it annealed into a different, more cynical version.

This broken and reborn piece is called pride.

This activity which I struggled with is called computer science.

I may not be a better computer scientist at this exact moment, and I may not have learned from all of the poor choices I made which led to this point, but I have hurt, and as a result I have grown. The events and feelings of the past year, and this year will likely impact me for the rest of my life. I will remember feeling and being incompetent, moping and fuming from bitterness, and struggling with the simple steps.

Computer science is something everyone should take, regardless if you wish to become a software engineer in the future or not. If you miraculously learn nothing else from your experience, the most important take-away is that of perseverance and problem solving. It’s difficult, it’s frustrating, and if you are insecure it can be diminishing and make you feel hopeless. But you cannot let that dissuade you, and set you back. Always move forward, always look up, and always know that failure doesn’t define you like you may think it does. Even if failure brands you as a loser in the eyes of others, it must never let you brand yourself as a failure because of it. Failure does not define us by molding the perspectives of others, it defines us by making us stronger, by making us better.

It might be too late to fix the past, but it’s never too late to change in heart, change in mind, and change in action. It’s not too late to pick yourself back up…so do it. Failure only defines us by how we define ourselves. See yourself as the person you are, the person you want to be, and work one step at a time to get there.

Thank you for bearing with me, and have a great day.


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