Computer Communication 101: It turns out that banging your head against the keyboard or yelling at the unresponsive screen does not make the computer do what you want it to do. It’s a little more complicated than that. Okay, so it feels a lot more complicated than that, but I’m not the only one who feels this way, right? Recently, I’ve begun to wonder.
As is usually the case, a new year comes with new opportunities, experiences, and challenges. For some it’s new friends, new environments, or, in my case, exploring new challenges within my major—like talking code to a machine.
Web design is the next step in my journey as a graphic design major, and I, having no previous knowledge of code whatsoever, was a little nervous to enter that daunting room of MACs the first day of class. I began to give myself mini pep talks: “You’ve got this, you know how to use a computer, you were born to use one! Besides you’re not the only one learning this for the first time.”
All of this did little to comfort me when I found out I was the only sophomore in a classroom full of juniors. While everyone else turned to his or her screen with purpose, I was left to look on, intimidation creeping ever forward. “Maybe I don’t belong here, maybe I should just drop the class now and save myself the embarrassment that’s sure to follow,” I thought.
It was at that point that I gave myself a mental slap in the face. This was insecurity talking. Who cares that I’m a beginner? That’s why I’m going to school in the first place, to learn. With renewed energy, I opened Dreamweaver and began to punch in the foreign combinations of letters, symbols, and words as the instructor demonstrated a lesson. Much to my surprise, the machine listened to me! These seemingly random strings of characters actually mean something. Epiphany struck. I can do this.
As class progressed, I began to realize that despite difference in class year, I was not the only one seeing this stuff for the first time after all. Another mental thonk. “If everyone knew what they were doing they wouldn’t be in the class now would they?” I am by no means an HTML or CSS expert yet, as there is still much to learn, but I’m beginning to see that as long as you’re willing to try, even code will begin to make sense eventually.
Fear was then replaced by excitement and inspiration for what this could mean for my future. I began to imagine all the possibilities and doors that would open with possession of this knowledge. I was no longer taking this class because it was a requirement for my major, I was taking it because it was offering me a new set of skills that would allow me to express myself artistically as well as being able to showcase my work to potential employers in another way.