What do Oprah Winfrey, Lilly Singh, Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin have in common? Along with being amazingly successful in their respective fields, they also struggled quite a lot. No one is an overnight success. It’s important to acknowledge struggles, because it helps us and others be okay whenever they get stuck.
When you join an open source community, it’s very easy to assume that existing members of the community are “professionals” and expert at doing everything, but the reality is, even they don’t know everything, and that’s okay! The important thing is that you ask for help.
While a lot of Outreachy interns have a tech based project, I am a design intern, so the problems I experience are a little bit different. There is no right or wrong in design, as it is a very subjective field, so if I am working on a problem and I come up with a design, some people will like it and some people won’t. There’s no “bug” to solve here.
The thing I struggled (and still am struggling with) is being confident about the designs I come up with. I keep coming up with flaws that don’t really exist, questioning the quality of my designs, double and triple checking everything multiple times- to the point where it’s just unnecessary and not a good use of my time. I’m afraid of making mistakes, or letting my mentor down.
Guess what? I still make mistakes. Even after thorough checking, I still miss a typo. Or forget to align boxes properly. Or forget to include the logo.
And I’m slowly learning to be okay with these things. My mentor is amazing, and never makes me feel bad about the mistakes I make, so that’s a huge help. If I am ever doubtful of my designs, she gives me a lot of good feedback, which not only re-assures me about my concept, but also helps me make it better!
It’s easy to hold yourself to an impossibly high standard, but it doesn’t do anyone any good. Outreachy is a learning experience. You are not expected to know everything. The important thing is that you acknowledge your struggles and ask questions when stuck (no one is judging you, I can assure).