In [1]:
Tue 07 Dec 2021 11:28:33 PM EST

advent of code update and other things

When I go out onto the streets I keep getting chased by crowds of people all bombarding me with the same questions.

"mctopherganesh where are the AOC updates!?!?" "Have you solved all of the challenges for every day so far?!?!" "Are you at the top of the leaderboards?!?!" "We have been trying to reach you regarding your car's extended warranty."

Truth is, I'm stuck on the second day's challenges. Despite joining a group that is decidedly solving the challenges together and quite literally providing step by step analysis on how to solve the problems, way before the end of the day I've allowed myself to get hung up on part 2 of day 2. And it's day 7 of the challenge.

I've let the challenge get away from me a bit admittedly and what I have realized is this is the kind of coding I have zero experience in. Programming is about solving problems yes but these problems are REALLY hard. As far as an activity that was supposed to be about getting me back into coding it's been a little bit more intimidating then seemingly helpful. I will explain seemingly in a second but first let me complain about how hard it is.


What has been holding me back? What holds anyone back from anything? I wanted to write everyday I solved a challenge and when I got stuck, I didn't want to show up empty handed and write a (this) post with a bunch of excuses followed by a bunch of justifications about how it's okay to do this at my own pace and such and such and blahdy blah.

To start, I think I've completely missed the boat on what the point of this all was where my pride is concerned. I went from not coding every day to trying to work on these problems that are super complex and are itching a part of my brain I haven't used in a while in programming. Or barely at all. Sure I have built things here and there that are impressive enough that I can mention them in interviews that make recruiters swoon and hire me on the spot. And if that doesn't work I hit them with the smolder.


I still don't understand photo usage rights so yes, this is some coals ACTUALLY smoldering. And no I don't hit recruiters with these, this is just a...whatever moving on.

But most things I have built, even if they're hard, they've been built before in some way or in part. I'm not really sure how to explain the AOC challenges but they're just plain tough.

So there have been some wins, and in the first week of the AOC challenge I have attempted to work on harder programming problems and sat down to program more than the last few months combined.

Showing up, even if it's late well... that's half the battle in my book (it's a short book, super easy read, huge font, lots of pictures). And really I didn't know what I was getting myself into at all.

The other thing I wanted to mention was confidence. After crushing the first challenge I attacked the second challenge with a blind ferocity, thinking "psh this is going to be so ez." And then it wasn't. And then it seemed like my brain didn't work. And day two ended and I had no clue and day three I had not as much time to sit and think this out and should I just look at the solution and what the heck look at this guy's solution it's crazy what's he even do for living eat code books and I've been coding for years and.


Someone out there on the internet that I used to work for used to say that confidence comes from competence. And what I realized is that this flavor of complex programming and problem solving isn't something I'm competent with and that means there are going to be some growing pains and I have to be ready for that, but even more so - open to it. So maybe I can solve the first challenge in a day but the second challenge gets me. Maybe I wake up and try to solve it and don't even get close. But not figuring out some extra saucy coding problem doesn't mean I'm a sh!t coder. It just means I don't normally work on this stuff and with some practice maybe attacking these problems will get a little easier, even if the problems get harder.

When I used to be a runner, I would sometimes get asked by people if I had advice about running. I used to tell them -

It just gets harder from here on out.

I guess that's learning too. And life honestly. And it's kind of just a poor, semi-elitist negative perspective to have overall but it's true to a certain point. If you're trying to grow and change, you are continually challenging yourself and maybe this won't make you look like the brightest, or the strongest, or the fastest but you'll come out more resilient, (hopefully a tad bit) more confident, and probably more willing to try where you wouldn't have thought to before.

This post was inspired by another post (yep we live in a remix culture) I saw on LinkedIn about displaying projects that make you look good versus one's that are honest in hopes to get hired. And then further inspired by my fear to admit that I'm friggin stuck on these AOC challenges. Something to think about.

Moving forward, going to try a little harder to keep up with the day's challenges, even if I don't figure them out and go through the bootcamp's analyses because in all seriousness, if I don't know how to solve one of these problems, I'll gain more from seeing how someone smarter than me went about it, practicing coding challenges the rest of the year, and trying again next year.

And that's the best I can do.

Thanks for reading.