Ahammad Shawki
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Ahammad's Anomalous Articles

Unexpected Lockdown Vacation vs Programming MindSet

Unexpected Lockdown Vacation vs Programming MindSet

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Ahammad Shawki
·Jan 20, 2021·

6 min read

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Lockdown has been a huge change for the vast majority of students at schools and universities across the world, particularly for those whose schools have closed early due to the current situation. My school was closed from March 16. It’s completely surreal and dissatisfying. At that time, I was just left wondering, “What am I supposed to do now?”

I’m certain so many people feel this way and so I’m going to share my way of cultivating a PROGRAMMING MINDSET during the lockdown period and turning a negative experience into a positive one.

Lockdown helped me to keep in touch with my creative programming side most of the time. The first few days went by as normally as it could. But the issue was that I’ve been getting a sudden amount of free time. The sudden change from constant studying to having nothing to do has been really jarring and confusing. As a result, I was spending the time totally unproductively, watching movies, sleeping all the time, and doing nothing. And I was telling to myself, “Look Ahammad, it’s not just you! It’s everybody your age in the world who is dealing with this. You are not alone. They are also wasting their valuable time.”

After a week, I realized this is enough of THE LOCKDOWN VACATION. I can’t waste my free time like others of my age. To help me have a sense of routine and something to do, I had to complete some of my personal programming projects.

And for that, I had to study more, learn new tools to work on those projects. I registered at Khan Academy and took 2 important and broad courses. The first one is on Differential Calculus and the second one is on Linear Algebra. I also watched The Essence of Linear Algebra and The Essence of Calculus series created by 3blue1brown youtube channel. Truly speaking, the visualizations using Manim and lectures prepared by Grant Sanderson is out of the world. Then, I learned 3 new programming languages HTML, CSS, and SQL from FreeCodeCamp. Really, the math and programming courses were amazing. It’s surprising how much I’ve actually enjoyed getting back to learning!

I also read a few programming books. “Data Structures and Algorithms in Python” and “Cracking the Coding Interview” worth mentioning names.

Finally, as I was very influenced by THE DATA SCIENCE hype, I started to learn few PYTHON libraries like NumPy, Pandas, SciPy, and Matplotlib.

Besides, the period of this lockdown allowed me to keep in touch with my creative side. Despite being a passionate writer, I didn’t even have time to contribute to personal blogging. During this lockdown period, I have written 5 blogs and also started co-authoring a book named “Math and Programming”. The blogging experience is really enjoyable and I acquired much knowledge through writing blogs as I had to study more about not just on a particular topic but also different parts of that topic.

After learning all that stuff or while I was learning those topics, I worked on so many personal projects. Among them, my favorite project was creating my personal website where I can showcase my courses, other projects, and mainly the recent blogs that I have written. I have written the entire code using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and created the website from scratch. It took 2 months to complete my personal website properly. I learned so many cool hacks and tricks of web development and responsive design throughout this project. Another project which is very near to my heart is organizing PyCampaign20. I organize this in the early days of the lockdown period.

One day, I was feeling bored sitting in front of my desk, suddenly an idea banged into my head. I thought my classmates might be bored too. Why don't I talk with them and teach them programming? Then I discussed my idea with some of my close friends. All appreciated the idea and they were eagerly wanting to learn to program. So, I organized PyCampaign20 in Zoom. In this campaign, I have guided them on how to start a career as a Python Developer and I also taught them the Basics of Python Programming. In this campaign, I discovered my hidden teaching talent.

I also created 5 games with the Pygame library of Python and 4 useful applications using the Kivy framework of Python. One of them is worth mentioning and that is “Zoom Assistant”. Zoom_Assistant is a simple Python application that is specially designed for students who have to attend zoom online classes in the Corona pandemic situation. The most annoying part of online classes is that manually search through the class routine and teacher's zoom ID and password's list and then fill-up the form before each class. Zoom Assistant will do that work automatically for you in just 5 seconds!

All my courses and projects helped me to boost my CV a lot (always positive). Another thing which I need to add is that I was a bookworm two-year earlier. But hectic schedules hardly permitted me to flip through novels and books. There were a lot of unread novels on my bookshelf. Finally in the lockdown, I got a chance to read about 21 interesting books, which enriched my knowledge about several aspects of life.

Now, 8 months later, I feel proud to look back and see what I have done, what I have achieved in this unexpected lockdown period. Truly speaking, the spirit that helped me most to continue my courses and projects, writing blog posts, reading novels, and also continue my academic studies is pure MINDSET towards my passion. A lot of times I failed on my projects and I saw many shiny and interesting activities on the internet. I could have left that project in the middle and start the shiny one. But my mindset always urged me to continue what I am doing.

My programming mentality helped me not to give up, fixing the last issue of my project, and doing better every day. I challenged myself every day that I will become better than yesterday. And believe me, this mindset helps me a lot. But remember we all need to do different things to help us cope.

Find what works for you and don’t push yourself or make yourself feel guilty if it looks different from someone else. At the end of the day, if you think about this sudden lockdown vacation deeply you will find that we are basically having a nine-month summer holiday (albeit stuck indoors), so we ought to enjoy it if we can and try to make the most of it. Because, when else are you going to get a chance to read all the storybooks you keep saying you’ll get round to, or finally learn to play the guitar? You’ve been forced to take time off; you might as well try to make the most of it!

If you have enjoyed my writing and want to keep me motivated, consider leaving starts on GitHub, endorse me for relevant skills on LinkedIn, and follow me on Twitter. You can always hit me with direct messages.

In the end, please consider sharing this article with your friends/teammates who will find this helpful as well. Stay safe and keep learning :)

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