Five Lessons from JavaScript

Back this spring, I took two online classes in HTML and CSS, which are used to build websites.  To my great astonishment, I enjoyed them both.  So I thought I would go ahead and complete my web-building skills with a course in JavaScript.

JavaScript is a real programming language, different from HTML and CSS.  I met functions, variables, loops, arrays, objects, parameters (not to be confused with arguments), and other, more complicated friends of JavaScript.  Friends such as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML).  Not to mention other ‘libraries’ like JQuery and Handlebars.  Highly interesting in a frustrating kind of way.

So as not to make the story too painful, we’ll just say I procrastinated.  The night of my deadline I was up until midnight, trying to get my JavaScript application up and running.  My wonderful Mama stayed up with me as I nearly went crazy.  The code was giving me fits, and, dramatic though it may seem, it felt like the screen was closing in on me, making a tunnel with several passages, and my brain was getting lost.

In the end, I submitted a half-finished project, though I did get a good score on the final exam.  But the horrid programming language still haunted me.  While reading a novel the next day–a novel, mind you–I ran across the word ‘variables.’  Oh, please, don’t mention variables!  I know it sounds ridiculous, but my chest tightened when I read that word.  And it happened again with, of all things, a guitar chord:  something like ‘Dsus(4)’ which looked just a little too much like calling a function and passing in an argument.  And you’d think I could get away from it on vacation, but no.  The dish soap that confronted me is called AJAX!  I mean, really, everywhere I look something reminds me of JavaScript. 

Of course, it wasn’t all bad.  I did learn a good deal about programming, my instructor was great, and now I can sort of understand Daddy when he discusses his work with me, which I love.  The fact is, I could have done better if I had thrown more study-time at it.  And believe it or not, JavaScript can teach life-lessons.

  1. Don’t procrastinate.  You’ll never get anything done if you don’t do it, and putting it off till the end will drive you nuts.  Besides, you can’t expect to do your best work when you’re stressed by time.
  2. Feeling like you failed isn’t fun.  Actually, I found it harder to handle than I thought I would.  I didn’t really fail, I suppose, but I didn’t give it my best.  I could have conquered that thing, but I settled for only surviving.
  3. Don’t be too proud, or too scared, to ask for help.  My instructor would have gladly helped me more if I had simply asked more questions and explained my difficulties to him.
  4. I’m not cut out to be a full-time programmer.  I just don’t like it well enough.  It’s all right, or would be if I mastered it, but I would not like to make a career out of it.
  5. Jesus knows JavaScript.  It was wonderful to discover for myself that no matter how ‘modern’ my problem may be, Jesus can handle it.

I can’t honestly call the experience fun, but it was good for me.  And–who knows?–maybe one of these days I’ll try it again.  Maybe. 

Anyhow, I ought to get some enjoyment out of it.  If I ever have a son whom I wish to name Jason, I’m spelling it without the a–Json.

-Miss Darcy

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