Anybody else a deer in headlights?

Any time I’m presented with a blank canvas I tend to blank out and overwhelm myself. Here I am with this challenge, which should be fairly simple, and am utterly lost.

I did indeed look at the example code, though I didn’t copy it, and I have looked at others’ tribute pages to see who they did them on, how it turned out etc. And they are for the most part awesome. It seems like the example used things that were not yet covered in the lessons so far. But, I’m trying to break it down to smaller pieces, but I still kind of find myself like O_O . I moved through all of the exercises with relative ease and few hiccups, and I have already did 100% of codecademy’s HTML & CSS course. Yet, here I am… Please tell me I’m not the only one lol

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I feel certain blank pages terrify everyone, so you are far from being alone.

I made a point of not using things that we’d not covered, because otherwise I don’t think it would be as good a record of what I’ve learnt at this point from FCC.

I did make good use of the Bootstrap documentation though … I think that fits with the Read-Search-Ask methodology.

Good luck!

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You’re definitely not alone, and in fact, a post like this surfaces on the forum every couple of weeks or so :slight_smile:

One thing that helped me when I was starting the portfolio was to browse through the Bootstrap Components just to see what was possible with Bootstrap. I found that gave me enough inspiration to get started.

There’s more advice in this previous thread, as well:


I also was very overwhelmed by being set loose in the wild to start a web-page from scratch! My story is the same, just finished codecademy html css bootstrap tutorials, where they hold your hand every step of the way. So after some more exercise from freecodecamp, and here I am. I made a Jake the Dog tribute page, it is really simple but a great start I think. It really helped me to have my notes available. Also, my wife found the make a website on codecademy explained bootstrap a bit better. Just do what you know and build from there good luck!


Thanks, I appreciate it. I don’t even know what jumbotron is. (Did we cover this at this point?) I’ve seen it in almost every tribute page’s code. I’m making some progress. Presentation is ugly as hell, but I figured I’d get the page/html material down, then try to polish it up a bit… Will post when complete.

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This is what I have so far.

don’t like it much at all, but I don’t consider this finished. I’ll probably keep working on it. I don’t like that the buttons are so far away from the list items. Still trying to figure it all out. Any feedback, critique etc is appreciated.

I feel your pain. The “learning” part seems a bit superficial and hand-holdy, the “projects” part seems high-level in comparison and seems to use a lot of concepts that weren’t brought up in the exercises.

FCC says to “Remember to use Read-Search-Ask if you get stuck” in the project guidelines.

I am doing A LOT of Read-Search-Ask, so no, you are not the only one feeling like a deer in headlights when you get to the projects.

Good luck to us both!


@michecouch Thanks for the encouragement! Where are you in the program? I finished up my tribute page a little while ago, but before I plow ahead I went back to review some of the sections of bootstrap and jquery. If you’re interested here’s the current state of the tribute page:

Great idea! I have been stalled for a week or so so I will get with it and start browsing through Bootstrap to see what is there. I only need a couple more things to get a rudimentary page done that hits all the bases. Then I can move on and polish it up as I get new skills. Thanks for the suggestion!

I am about the same place as you, just recently finished up the tribute page and portfolio page. Your tribute page looks great to me!

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Thanks :slight_smile: Decided to go with the portfolio project huh! I’m gonna tackle that next. Glad you got it done!

People, calm down :slight_smile: I don’t know for how long have you been dealing with this stuff, but it usually takes a bit of time to learn it!
My first projects sucked a lot but then I just browsed through different websites and skim through them to see how they are made.
Sometimes the design itself can take a lot of time! Don’t rush it. Sit back, relax and think about how it can be made.
Being a front-end developer doesn’t mean you always have to be writing code! You need to THiNK most of the time about HOW the “stuff” is going to get done.
Best regards to everybody!


I’ve been like this with every single project so far. I’m getting better at figuring out where/how to find answers once I get past the deer-in-headlights stage, but getting over that initial paralysis is still hard. Not giving up though! I’ll figure this stuff out if it kills me :slight_smile:

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Good attitude to have. I posted this almost a week ago, and have since completed the tribute page and the portfolio. About to move onto javascript. After the portfolio project I found myself still not so great at page layout, where to begin, etc. Watched a lot of external videos and discussions on varying sites, exercises on w3 etc. Gets a bit easier the more you do things and such. Which projects have you done so far?

I’m up to the local weather app now. I’m working on it in stages, so far I have figured out how to get the latitude and longitude from the visitor, and I’m working on turning that into an API call to get weather data. If you’d asked me a month ago I wouldn’t have believed I would be able to do this so soon!

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That’s awesome. Hopefully in a month I’ll be saying the same thing. Feel free to hit me up with the end result and show it off.

You just need more experience building things. That is where FCC really separates itself from sites like Codecademy: it forces you to do projects to complete the certification.

Trust me, by the time you get to Simon, you’ll be banging out your HTML and a lot of your CSS without even thinking about it, and you’ll be dreaming in JavaScript.

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Good to know man. Before continuin on with the Javascript portion I’ve actually spent the day watching beginner lessons and tutorials on Youtube. It’s been incredibly helpful. I look forward to being at that point you mentioned!

found this really great article about the bootstrap grid system and would definately recommend. It gave me a better understanding and I actually understood what he was saying lol.Hope it helps

I think one of the reasons they have you do things in projects that you haven’t encountered in any of the challenges up to that point is so you can learn how to research how to do something. When you go out and get the job you want, whether it’s freelance or through an employer, you’ll be asked to do things that you haven’t done or possibly even seen before. It’s important to know how and for what to search. You will need to look through API documentation to figure out how to implement different technologies and you will need to learn how to ask the right questions to get the answer to what you’re wanting to do. You need to learn to modify what someone else has done to meet requirements for the project you’re working on at the time.

When I’m building a larger project and I find that I need to figure out how to do something, I create small proof of concept projects to see how things work and if what I want to do is possible. In the projects on here, they want to get you out of your comfort zone so you get used to looking things up and figuring things out on your own. That might be coming to some of the more experienced programmers and designers to pick their brains or it might be going out to the jQuery website to review their API to see how to implement AJAX or some other part of the library you want to use.