July 20, 2023•609 words
This post is my personal brainstorm, which I'm sharing for the benefit of anyone in a similar situation.
I found out that Pycon UK - my local Python conference - is happening in just over 2 months' time in a city near me. That's great!
However, although I recently re-started regular Python shenanigans, I'm still very much a rookie. This gives me a little anxiety.
Here are ten ideas for things I can do to still enjoy my time at Pycon UK.
- Focus on the people: I'm always excited to be around people who want to learn something new. And I'm happy to join new communities. Pycon can be my chance to do that, without obsessing over how little I know compared to everyone else.
- Embrace the rookie-ness: everyone starts somewhere, and as a former teacher, I know this just as well as anyone else. If I come to terms with my status as a beginner, I will worry less about the fact that some talks are way over my head.
- Empathize with other folks' impostor syndrome: being a young coder, or a beginner coder, or a non-white coder, or a non-cis / non-male coder - all these things can give us impostor syndrome. There will be many people out there who feel overwhelmed sometimes, for reasons different than mine, and that's okay.
- Study the schedule carefully: usually, when I'm going to events, I like to just stick to one day - and pick a day which will interest me the most. So for Pycon, I'm likely to look through the event schedule, and pick a day which looks to be the most rookie-friendly, without being too kid-focused.
- Pick talks with relatable interests and real-life applications: so what if I can't understand what the code does? If I can relate to how it helps in a real-life context, or if I can understand a person's motivation for being interested in writing the code - then the talk is still inspiring and possibly helpful.
- Be proud of what I bring to the table: hey, I'm not a beginner in everything. I've got plenty to say when it comes to e-learning, or editing, or project management, or pedagogy. Code lets me do these things in a more interesting manner. Not everyone who's at Pycon needs to code for a living!
- Start seeking out my network before I arrive: it's awesome that Pycon is on Mastodon already, and that I'll possibly find some UK-based Pythonistas to hang out with. This means I won't feel like a snake out of water when I arrive.
- Use the time to keep learning: my coding is now a daily exercise, and I'm enjoying the progress. In 2 months' time, I can probably be much more confident than today, and whatever I pick up at Pycon will make more sense.
- Use the time to start mixing Python with my interests: who says I need to wait until (insert Important Moment) to play with Python and pedagogy, or Python and Personal Knowledge Management, or any of these other things? If I started today, I would be able to keep learning Python - while applying it to my real-life ideas and interests. This would mean more valuable insights to exchange at Pycon.
- Just ask lots of questions. Everyone at the event is probably going to be lovely, and understanding, and so interesting. I think the best thing you can do to enjoy a learning experience is not to defend your little patch of expertise - but instead to expand and get your mind blown by new and unexpected stuff.