How stupid am I?

It’s going to take a lot of practice and doing over and over and after that you’re still not going to remember every single detail of information from every lesson. The goal is for you to build that foundation and soon enough you’ll have that aha moment. Just keep pushing and keep practicing. Focus on big picture stuff rather than what a div tag and p tag is and all that because you can easily google that. Trust me, I still google so many things that should be “basic” knowledge of coding. It’s more like a muscle that you just have to keep working out rather than a test of facts. Soon you’re going to be experiencing that muscle memory and things are gonna be much smoother.

The only thing that can lead me to the notion that you are stupid is the way you handle the situation and interpret it.
Jumping from a setup environement, with small tasks that are explained beforehand, to nearly a huge sandbox, with unfamiliar tools and the challenge to build a whole project is big leap and overwhelming. You gotta put to test all things that you have learned and even more. You need to become familiar with the new environement you need to work with, which is a small challenge on its own(as you cant build the project within the FCC environement). People use outside resources heavily. They go back to old lessons all the time and look for other online examples, or come here in the forums to ask for help. Completed projects are out there and everyone look for inspiration and example in them. You are not the only one, you are part of the majority. Only someone with additional background, would be able to jump right at the projects and complete them with minimum background search and preparation.
I find, its not the lack of intelligence or learning ability you got there, but the way you interpret and handle a situation. You are fast to draw conclusions on groundless reasons and tend to see what you expect to see. You need to work on your mindset and change that behavior, so you can better deal with similar situations and make good progress. Having things hard and facing challenge can only be a sign you need to try harder and that you are gonna learn something in the end. Its the path that leads to improvement. If things were easy and you give low effort, it means you arent learning much and you are not fulfilling your potential. Anyone who brags to you that he did things fast and easy, dont look up to him.
Its true programming is a different job from other fields and requires a set of skills not everyone has acquired, but with the right amount of effort and in the right direction, anything can be done. Good luck :slight_smile:

Hey Jon,

Despite the self-loathing, I am glad you vented your key struggle, which is not feeling smart enough to code. You are certainly capable of tackling the FCC curriculum, and I’ll tell you how to build the foundation for success.

  • Mental health: Based on your post, I take it your self-esteem is deflating your willpower to accomplish courses. We can’t fix this overnight, but we can take initiative to diminish the voice that says you aren’t good enough/smart enough!
    First off, satisfy that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs every day!! Human beings need water, food, sleep, sunlight, and exercise. It is way too easy to neglect one or more of these needs in modern society, especially sleep. If you manage to drink plenty of water, eat healthy food, sleep consistently, and exercise a few times a week I guarantee you will feel better.
    Second, your inner monologue likely defaults to negative words when you goof up. Don’t tell yourself “I’m so f-ing stupid” or “I’m a dumbass” when you make a mistake! I always used to do this, and it really impacted my self-esteem. When I make mistakes now, I take a deep breath, let the swearing/negative emotions run their course, and then re-analyze the problem when I am more composed. Don’t be your own worst enemy; become your own best friend!!

  • Consistency: I had to grind FCC curriculum for months to get my first certificate. I finished all the challenges in responsive web design, but the projects were way harder than I thought. My secret was dedicating an hour to coding, 6 days a week, every week. Your motivation will ebb and flow, and sometimes you won’t feel like coding anything. This is where a routine really shines, and will get you through when nothing else will.

  • Socializing: Talking to people about code builds your ability to explain your own expertise, and learn about new technologies from others! The forum is a great place to start. There’s also an FCC discord you can join. Virtual meetups for coding can also be good.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, one that I stumbled across while grinding FCC challenges!

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one’s courage.” - Anaïs Nin

@jonjames1986 If you aren’t familiar with the term, maybe google “imposter syndrome”. That feeling never completely goes away - it’s just part of being a developer.

You compare yourself unfavorably to those that are farther down the path that you are. But you don’t realize that before long there will be people looking up to you.

At my old job, one of the junior devs said to me that he wanted to be “as good of a coder” as me one day. I just laughed and said, “What? Me? I barely know what I’m doing, I’m just trying to catch up to Kyle!” I’m sure if you asked Kyle, we’d find out that there are time that he feels inadequate.

Just embrace it.

Hi jonjames1986. Let me start by addressing the most important question you asked (as I see it). First, you are not worthless, your life is precious, and you have a lot to contribute. You may not see it now from where you are sitting but it is only because someone hasn’t helped you understand the most important truths. I’m not sure what else is going on in your life but it seems that you feel pretty low right now. I’m sorry its challenging but please don’t assess your life’s worth in the context of a coding course, or any occupational field, regardless of what it is. Your life has much more meaning than that and I would be happy to help you find the answers you are seeking.

Regarding the coding questions…you are not stupid, you can get it, and your mind is capable of remembering the parts you need. Learning to code is somewhat like learning to speak as a young child. You first have to learn what the words mean and then how to use them to make a sentence or expression. Just as no toddler learns a language in a few days or weeks, no coder learns to code with first exposure. Be patient with yourself. As you are working through each activity, you might need to use other resources outside of the Free Code Camp to lookup things. I use Google a lot and have had to repeat many lessons many times. Like you, I tend to forget what certain things do and how they work. But repetition will fix that to where you will get it the more you use it. Take your time and you might consider Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book titled Switch On Your Brain (I have no affiliation with her organization but love the book). It will help you get to where you want to be. If I can help in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out.