Posted in 2017, Outreachy, Random

Am I a fraud?

Imposter Syndrome is described as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement”. While these people “are highly motivated to achieve”, they also live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds. (Clance and Imes, 1978)

Recently, I had this wonderful opportunity to participate in the Mozilla All Hands, 2017. There was an Imposter Syndrome workshop for Outreachy participants and here are the session highlights. The workshop was led by Lizz Noonan from the Diversity and Inclusion team, and we learned techniques to identify and overcome the Imposter Syndrome.

We were aproximately 12 participants and Lizz started the session with an introduction to the Imposter Syndrome. We were then asked to introduce ourselves and also to state ‘one thing you didn’t know looking at me‘! In my case, “I turned 30” 😉

Imposter Syndrome is the belief or the feeling that you are a fraud! It often starts with ‘I can’t do this‘ or ‘Can I do this‘?! Lizz cited examples from noted women – Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd College, Cherry Murray, former Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, stating how they too have been bitten by this bug.

Imposter Syndrome disproportionally affects women, so it is something of which we should be especially aware. This wasn’t the first time that I was hearing about Imposter Syndrome; I have heard and read articles about this in the past. What I didn’t realise until this workshop is that I too have been silently affected by this bug.

After a brief explanation about this syndrome, we were asked to share our experiences. When it was my turn to share my Imposter Syndrome experience, I realised why I have always (and still I am) been reluctant to asking questions in public?! There have been numerous times when I have had framed a question in mind, and then wondered to myself that this could be the most stupid question to be asked, felt shy to pop it out of my head, and then hear someone else ask the exact (or similar) question and get applauded for asking the best question. Sigh! This still hasn’t boosted confidence in me to ask a question the next time. At a technical workshop, slack discussion, PR comments, I feel too naive to ask any question.

This workshop made me realise that this behaviour of mine is because of the fear in me of being exposed as a ‘fraud‘.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

  • You get the feeling of an impostor when your competence is questioned all the time – “Did you get into this program because you are a woman?
  • Often, you feel like an imposter because people treat you like one.
  • People act surprised when you are good.
  • There is this ‘prove -it-again‘ bias.
  • And ‘lower your ambitions‘ thing.

What is the result from the above?

  • We waste time over-preparing
    • In my case, instead of asking a question, I go and dig every possible source to help me find the answer myself.
  • We settle for less money (salary).

How do we prevent this?

  • Share your failures
  • Doc doc doc (doc = document, you don’t need to see a doctor :))
  • Tell your story (This is my story)

After sharing our experiences, our next exercise was to ‘Take a Compliment” and say “Thank You” for the compliment. We were divided into groups to exchange compliments and thank you notes. We often receive compliments but the imposter in us stops us from saying a thank you.

Lizz shared her own experience of making a log of all the thank you notes she receives and how it helps her when she is low.

Thank you Lizz for this great workshop! I have spoken to my Outreachy mentor Stephanie Ouillon about my reluctancy in asking questions and she has come up with a nice way to help me be confident in asking questions. So the plan is whenever I am not sure to ask a question during our weekly team meetings, I first shoot the question to her and get the boost to ask it to the whole team. We have our weekly meetings every Tuesday, today is Sunday, let’s hope for the best 😉

Posted in Outreachy, Random

Biannual updates

I like to set my goals at the beginning of every year and reflect on them about what’s being achieved and what isn’t. Here is what I have written in the past:

For 2017, this is what I had set.

goals-1
2017 goals

Having achieved most of them already, I thought of a biannual update for this year. And today being 31.05.2017, it is a good time of the year to share these updates.

Although Outreachy commenced officially yesterday, me and Bianca have already started our Lightbeam project and we are two weeks through. It’s been fun two weeks getting to learn lot of things, interacting with mentors and working remotely with people from different time-zones.

My next blog post will be on the test environment setup for the Lightbeam web extension. I am super happy for being able to set this up from scratch and I can blabber about this on & on 😉

My personal website is a work in progress and I intend to launch it soon. It features the TIL series.

Ending this post with words of wisdom to stay focused to be able to achieve your goals:

  • PRIORITISE things
  • Have PATIENCE
  • CHALLENGE yourself

See you 🙂

Posted in Outreachy

Outreachy – suspense unfolds

I am happy to announce that I am one of the 39 participants selected into this year’s summer Outreachy internship.

Results were announced on 04.05.2017 at 4:00 pm UTC and my joy new no bounds.

outreachy-results

I have been accepted into Mozilla’s Lightbeam project.

outreachy-mozilla-accepted-list

Initially, the results were scheduled to be announced on 28.04.2017. Anticipating a rejection, I had jotted down a Plan B for myself on 26.04.2017. But now, ditch the Plan B 😉

26.04.2017, Berlin

With two more days left for the announcement of Outreachy results, I have decided to go with Plan B. I think I am being too paranoid about the results this time, I am not able to concentrate on anything else. While I am being 90% optimistic, I want to have a Plan B to console the 10% pessimistic me. Even though I was a tad late to apply this year, I feel I have done a decent job with my application.

Here is my application.

And here is my contribution.

Best case, I will get the internship and the money. Worst case, I have the following Plan B.

I am an optimistic individual and it is very difficult to have me demotivated. While not securing the internship won’t be the end of the world to me, there will be a few obvious regrets; not getting the money to be one of them 😉

First let me make it clear to myself what this internship means to me:


I want to make the best use of my leave for this year. I have always wanted to be an active opensource contributor and this year I have the time to make this impact.

 

With this firm resolution in mind for this year, I was pretty happy when I found the debugger.html project in January and was able to make a PR.

I was keen on picking up a project from Mozilla because Mozilla has always been participating with Outreachy and it would fit with my forte of work. When the Outreachy’s participating organisation list was announced this year, Mozilla wasn’t listed and I was disappointed. I reached out to one of the programme’s coordinator via Twitter and she confirmed that Mozilla was participating and their project list would be up within a week’s time. The hope came back 🙂 When the project list was up, Lightbeam caught my immediate attention and I worked towards my contribution. I must say, web privacy is an interesting topic. There is so much scope to learn here.

I like to encourage women into technology. With this internship, I would be setting a real life example between managing work and home.

 

Plan B:


  • I can still contribute to Lightbeam because it is an opensource project and try to learn and understand about web privacy to the maximum. There is a lot of scope in this area!

  • I will get back to debugger.html and try to get some more PRs merged.

  • I want to do three courses from Coursera:

    • Algorithms (I HAVE to be very good at this)

    • Machine Learning

    • Data Scientist’s toolbox

    I have been aiming to take up these courses from a very very long time (from past 3-4 years). This year I have no excuse.

  • Ideas for fun projects:

    • Build a StackOverflow like platform for all the discussions happening at ExpatBabies Facebook group and Jutta’s idea of online midwife.
    • Build visualisations for some day to day life problems.
    • Cook, bake and blog
      The foodie in me is very excited about this one 🙂
  • I need to get better at the following and blog my learnings:

    • ES6
    • Web performance
    • D3.js, SVG, WebGL
    • WebVR
    • CSS layouts

As I conclude this post, let’s hope for the best 🙂

Posted in Random

If I Ruled the World!

Welcome to 2017! My first blog post for this year. However, I have been doing this here.

Anyways, I have an interesting post for tonight! This is an essay for my 9 year old niece – “If I Ruled the World”. She has a competition on 31.03.2017 and I am helping her with it. Prior to me writing this, I made her tell me 5 each of her likes and dislikes. This article is a compilation of her thoughts.

She had an essay competition last year around the same time. This is what I wrote back then.

I like today’s topic and the innocence it brings up from a 9 year old’s perspective.

If I ruled the world I would outlaw contests with themes of the likes of “if I ruled the world”. I would let people talk about whatever they feel like. I would accept each and every voice.

I’d sing and dance and see everybody happy. I would not make rules for anybody. No do’s and dont’s. “Live and Let Live” would be my mantra. I would like to see the world filled with love, fun, laughter and not to forget food for everybody.

I would actually, come to think of it, resign from my post as ruler of the world. If I ruled the world I would jump off the next bridge because, hey, who wants to rule the world?

I’d rather be Doraemon; to protect myself, my friends and Nobita from being bullied. I’d use Doraemon’s gadgets – from toys to medicines, for the needy. I would use Doraemon’s technical gadgets for our better future.

If I ruled the world, I would refuse to rule the world. I’d be a kind human being to myself, my friends and family, rather than a ruler to the world. I want a world without fear, sadness and wars. I want a simple and happy world.

If I ruled the world I would keel over from exhaustion and that is why I don’t rule the world, that is why I am standing here now hiccuping words and catapulting sounds and sights in front of you all and trying to be poetic, trying to talk, talk and talk. If I ruled the world my speech would win the prize of the “If I ruled the world” contest.

Thank you!