I Failed Every Code Challenge…on the first attempt…and had to retake them all. The good news …?

Failing at anything can be painful. Failing a code challenge in bootcamp is excruciating. Not only do you experience the voice of self-doubt, waves of self-criticism, and, yes, admittedly it feels a bit embarrassing, too! But there’s the added pressure of taking the time off from work and having an income to do this, the temporary loss of any sense of success or expertise you were getting from your old job, and the fear that this investment of time and money (yeah, tuition is steep!), may have been a fool’s errand!

But each time, after the code challenge, we have lunch break — always good to take that break!! Eat something comforting and get a little exercise if you can. I like to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with a cold glass of milk — like Mom would have done for me when I was a little kid and came home after a difficult day of school. Then I like to hop on my bicycle, and go for a 20-minute ride to clear out those stress hormones — burn off that misdirected cortisol and adrenaline! Or, maybe just check in with a friend. Vent about it, if that’s what will clear your mind.

Hit the reset button on that influx of negativity with any ritual you have that works for you.

Then do this: open up that code again, and take it a step at a time. You can do this! Learning from failed code challenge is a great opportunity to plug some leaks in your code knowledge base. Read the README. Again. I know, you read it when you were all stressed and under the gun. Now, read the README again. Parse it, line by line. Write out some pseudo code for each deliverable. And remember to breathe!

Ok, now, go. Google as much as you need to google. Use the DOM, remember to console.log, check your work as you go, and make frequent commits — so you can find your way back to that spot where it was actually working! If truly stuck, don’t stew too long before slacking your peers for a hint in the right direction. Get comfortable with getting help. It’s a very useful tool when you’re learning. And it will remind you, we are all in this together!

Remember: stay calm and focused, and put your focus on “learning” rather than “testing” or “failing”, and take it a step at a time! You got this! The good news is, the result of one code challenge will not determine your future. What you do *next* is what matters. We all fall while learning. We fell a lot when learning to ride a bicycle. We eventually learned because we kept getting back up and trying again.

It’s not how many times you’ve fallen that counts — it’s how many times you’ve gotten back up! Now get back to it! You got this!!



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Jeanmarie Jackman

Jeanmarie Jackman

Full Stack Developer | Software Engineer | React | Ruby on Rails | Musician | Artist | Educator