Outreachy and me!

I got admitted into one of the best institutes in India for Computer Science with decent marks in Mains. I was all excited to start college. We were never taught what coding and programming means before that. We just had basic computer sessions in schools. During my second semester in college, my ITWS professor used to talk a lot about Linux and open source. That was our first introduction to something called “OpenSource”. Though I was very much interested to start it, I couldn’t ask for help or use resources properly.

Back in my school days , I was a person brimming with confidence! I liked taking leadership, participate in sports, co-curricular activities. College has changed me a lot. I became all introvertish . For someone like me, who is a bit hesitant to talk with professors and all , it was difficult to cope up. Many a times, I just felt helpless. Depression, like dementors sucked all the confidence out of me! After 2-3 years of depression, I realized I needed help! I used to feel being depressed is way easier than fighting it and coming out of it. College environment which is highly competitive, doesn’t suit people like me. I remember one of my seniors telling me, ” Once you start performing poorly, there’s no coming back in our College!”. I found it hard to find project partners and finally decided that group projects are not my cup of tea. I believed in those words and almost lost hope! Everyday I was swimming in the opposite direction of the current! Everyday I used to tell myself , “Things would get better!”. Every time I used to go to hostel from my work space I used to feel as if I lost everything . I ruined my career, I hurt my parents, I let down my family and friends! Life has something more than that for me! I attended a talk in our college regarding depression. I realized I needed medical help! I started treatment, I took a semester leave and then came back to college to give it another shot. My friends’ and family’s support has given me enough strength to come back to my college but confidence is something which is clearly missing in me. I felt as if I’m way backwards in my studies and lost everything I have worked for since childhood. I thought I have ruined my career for good. Then I came across outreachy. I started working for Mozilla. There were many setbacks. My health, sleep issues and what not. I mailed few mentor but my mentor, David, has replied with a heart warming mail. He’s the most encouraging person I met during this time. I learnt a lot of thing during this application process but mainly I learnt how to express and ask for help! Outreachy application process itself helped me to boost my confidence a lot! You never know how things might be for you! so don’t hesitate! Just grab a spoon and keep going!

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