Progress is a Marathon, not a Sprint.

The Unexpected Happened in Week Two.

A hand typing on a laptop with a pop up search bar searching for "Progress is a Marathon, not a Sprint."

Dear Outreachy participants,

Let’s be honest: Outreachy contribution stage can sometimes be overwhelming–especially if it’s your first time. This is my first time entering the contribution phase after several applications, and when the contribution period began, I was determined to make it count and lend a helping hand to my fellow Outreachy applicants.

Just When I Settled in

When things were starting to pick up, I got sick and had to take a step back for a while. The road to recovery wasn’t easy, and when I finally returned to the communities I was eager to contribute to, Wagtail and Wikimedia, I felt like a stranger in a familiar land. The comfort and familiarity I had seemed to have vanished, leaving me feeling lost and overwhelmed. felt like I had missed a lot and that I was behind everyone else.

While I was trying my best to catch up from where I stopped on my list of tasks to be done in the Wagtail community, which was to write a blog post about everything I’d learned so far given by our mentor, Thibaud. All I wanted to do was pour out my experiences and lessons, but the words just wouldn’t come. My mind was as blank as empty Google doc, leaving me alone with the looming presence of writer’s block.

To make things worse, impostor syndrome decided to gatecrash the party. As I looked around at my fellow Outreachy applicants, I couldn’t help but question if I truly belonged. The feeling of not being good enough weighed on my shoulders.

I thought to myself, “Maybe I’m not good enough for Outreachy,” “Maybe I should just give up,” “Am I cut out for this?” and, “What if my contributions aren’t good enough?”

Finding My Way Back

So, you’re probably asking, how have I been able to manage everything?

  • Talked to my close friends. My friends were supportive and understanding. They listened to me vent about my feelings and offered encouragement.

  • Did a lot of self-talk. I told myself that I was smart, talented, and capable. I also affirmed that I deserved to be in Outreachy and that I could overcome any challenge.

  • Broke down my tasks into smaller, more manageable bits. Instead of thinking about writing a whole blog post, I focused on writing one paragraph at a time.

  • Took breaks. When I felt overwhelmed, I would take a few minutes to step away from my computer and clear my head. I would go for a walk, listen to music, or talk to a friend.

This post is to other Outreachy applicants who may be going through the same thing. I want you to know that you’re not alone.

Ohhh… And, after a few days, I was finally able to write this post.