“I think this might be it,” I thought as I raced to my computer to try out the idea. My hopes go up that I might be able to fix this error. Not long after, I am hit with a tidal wave of crushing disappointment. I really believed that this was the solution. Maybe it’s time to give up, I thought dejectedly. The sun set and rose, the birds still chirped as if everything was all right and I wasn’t going through a crisis. All of a sudden four days had passed and I was still stuck at square one after looking at countless YouTube videos and blogs on how to fix a broken compiler, which is a program that turns your code into machine code, aka binary or zeros and ones, for the computer to understand it. Moreover, it is detrimental if the compiler is not working, because I basically can’t code at all. I can’t believe I thought this would be easy.
My passion for building a robot was fueled by being the eldest out of 3 kids. When you are the eldest, it can be a pain, because you feel like a second mother to your siblings. I mean, it feels like I am the only one that exists to wash the dishes, throw the trash out, mop the floor, sweep the floor, and so much more. Not only are those chores a waste of my time, but I could also feel my jaw lock as I cleaned thinking about all the other things I could be doing. I shouldn’t be the one cleaning, but no one else would volunteer in my place, so I thought it was a great idea to build a robot that does it for you.
After I did some research about building a robot, it seemed very straightforward in my head. I planned to learn to code in C, which is a coding language, then get an Arduino board, and then build my robot. I was so wrong to think this was gonna be easy.
Arduino is a circuit board that makes it easier to control microcontrollers, which are integrated circuits that are like tiny computers that can run small simple software programs. Before I could get an Arduino, I had to learn C to give commands to the Arduino.
The first obstacle was getting a MacBook, so I could code in C. I thought that was the only way. To get a MacBook, you need money, and to get money you need a job. At the time, I was unable to get a job, so I was left to find easy ways to make money online. At the time, I didn’t realize that those videos of how to make money fast were a complete scam. I spent a few months doing those hacks and none of them worked. Out of the blue, my older cousin let me borrow or gave me her MacBook till I got mine. I finally got a MacBook and then started CS50, a computer science course, to realize I hadn’t needed it at all. All the coding would be done in virtual studios and not in the terminal. I was so frustrated because I wasted so much time because of my closed way of thinking.
To learn C, I took a course in computer science called CS50. There was a lecture and 3 extremely hard problem sets to solve after each lecture. At this point, I was trying to do one of the problem sets for week one, but it was simply not working. Moreover, I was stuck at this roadblock that is preventing me from moving with my plan. I was thinking of how easy it would be to give up, but I can’t since if I do, I will be stuck cleaning for the rest of my life. Also, I wanted to prove myself wrong and that I could get the compiler working again.
I reluctantly took a step back and came to terms with the fact that I would not be able to fix it. At that moment, I felt like something inside me broke because I wanted to code so badly, but now it was out of reach. The only way to fix this problem would be to get a new codespace, a place in visual studios where you can code online, but I was scared that all the work I had already done would be deleted, scared that I might have to start over again.
However, I took the risk. I could feel my heart pounding as I moved my hand to the mouse to click the button that may just delete all the work I have put in. My mind was telling me, no, but I still clicked the button. For a second it seemed like the world had stopped, the birds were not chirping, the sound of car engines stopped, and it was just me and my beating heart. Finally, I looked at the computer, and relief flooded through me. I realized all my hard work was not thrown into oblivion, and the compiler was finally fixed, but I was mad.
In just 2 clicks, I had miraculously fixed the compiler. Why did I go through all that pain and suffering just for it to be resolved like that? That experience made me realize that the solution to the hardest problems can be so simple that you don’t even notice it.
So far my journey of learning how to code has been a rough one, but I have learned so many valuable lessons. Coding opened my mind to have a more open way of thinking because that idea you feel is so right, might be wrong. I also have learned to think and see what you are trying to do. Our lives are busy and we just want to get stuff done, so taking a step back to just reflect can be beneficial.
I am different from who I was before I started coding because now I have more of an open mind and see many possible solutions to a problem. Before, I thought that one way was the only way to go about solving the problem at hand.