When doing projects, is it "cheating" to reference someone's code?

My gut says it is, but there have been many times where I felt absolutely stuck in spite of using the Read-Search-Ask method, so I referenced other people’s CodePens to see how they did it. I wonder how others have completed these projects completely on their own without referencing someone else’s code. I know it’s a matter of trying until you figure out something that works, but what if you absolutely have no idea what to do?

It’s normal. View all the code you want, dissect it, play with it, LEARN from it. Every programmer out there has learned from other programmers before him.

When you say you have no idea what to do, are you referring to how to code a specific feature of the project or how to start at all? If you are having trouble where to start, you need to first break down the projects in to small pieces first and figure out how create the code for individual pieces and then put the pieces of code together to create a completed project.

If you struggled (could not solve them without referencing someone else’s code) with any of the Basic JS or Basic Algorithms, then I would suggest going back through both of the those sections and start each challenge from scratch. If you really learned the material the first time (even while struggling), then the second time through should be much easier. It will cement your understanding of how to break the problems down.