That old adage/idiom… “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is mostly bullshit, but it does take persistence and intestinal fortitude in order to learn new things. I’m on unit 8 (of 12) of the Full Stack Javascript Developer tech-degree at Treehouse.com. I’ve been moving along pretty well and quickly; it feels good to be two-thirds of the way through in roughly three months. I figure that I should probably finish in approximately two months or so. The units are becoming progressively more difficult and they’re being updated while I’m in the program. They’ve already updated the NodeJS learning module with a newer version just this week.

As I look through the remaining curriculum, I can feel a tiny bit of dread rising within me. There’s so much more to learn and most of the stuff I’m going to be exposed to is new to me and complex. The next four units are going to be much harder than the first four of the course. I think back to when I was teaching and how I tried to help my students bridge the gap between difficult lessons in various ways. I constantly reassured them that I was going to help them get through the tough spots and I always succeeded when the student was an active participant in the learning process. Now that I’m a student, I can appreciate the anxiety that goes along with moving outside of one’s comfort zone.

There is a final exam at the end of the twelve units. The idea of taking a final exam seems a bit daunting. I’ve worked very hard since leaving home way back in 1988. I’ve maintained momentum throughout my career in the tech field. I’ve never stopped trying to better myself or learn new things. The problem is that I think I might be suffering a bit from Imposter Syndrome. It seems to be a common thing for developers. Here is the definition from Wikipedia

Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. Some studies suggest that impostor syndrome is particularly common among high-achieving women.

Getting back to the final exam and how daunting it is. The idea of failing the exam and being a failure, a fraud, does creep into my mind. The coursework  that still has to be covered in the next four to six weeks and realizing I have to do this on my own without a teacher or mentor also seems very challenging.

Maybe it’s the values instilled in me during my tenure as a Marine or maybe it’s just personal motivation and drive, but I realize that I need to keep moving forward and not allow myself to fail. Even if I have to slow everything down and decrease my velocity, I will push through the remaining units, pass that test, and earn that certificate. I’ve never failed at anything I’ve put my mind to and I’m not going to start failing now.