Back to Pitt

3 min read

I’m going back to Pitt.

So, if you have been following my journey for the last few months you know I quit school during an intense period of depression— a kind of nervous breakdown. I am finally coming out that, and am working quite hard on the things I had set up when I quit. I’ve worked harder at learning, growing, and building since quitting.

I need to get a medical withdrawal from the school— I left the semester under the care of a doctor but I didn’t properly withdraw— I could barely leave my apartment. It was pretty bad. So if I didn’t get the medical withdrawal, I would have failed the semester. I told my advisor I planned on coming back but not right now. I said it to be pleasant. She told me I would need to come back before Fall 2017 or I’d go inactive.

I posted on Facebook about it and said I planned to go inactive. My opinionated friend I know in real life and some that I’ve been “friends” with for many years encouraged me to continue. In fact, my buddy Joe, who really started this journey I am on now by splitting his majors up 1 told me to “get that degree. Goddammit. It opens all kinds of doors, no matter what you major in. Don’t let them tell you no. Don’t give up.”

Reevaluating School

I decided to go back. I am not really looking forward to it, to be perfectly honest. I missed it in some ways and in more ways I am perfectly happy with this structure. But I know they’re right. So I decided instead of CS, I’d do Information Science, which is programming, business, and design. This is the easiest path to a BS for me. And I will have that piece of paper. Soooo… H2P!?

Confidence in Building the Contacts App

I had to admit to a few people that I am really afraid of the blank text editor.

I was so afraid of it, I picked up a book that was on my iPad that I had downloaded a long time ago called Thinking Like a Programmer by V. Anton Spraul. I mentioned it in the last blog post.

Well, after reading the introduction and writing that blog post, I went to bed and before I fell asleep, I was thinking about my Contacts app. When I fell asleep, I dreamt about the app, how to structure it, using prototypes, breaking things down with functions in an OOP way. When I woke up I half-remembered but my mind got jogged by talking to a friend.

I started working on it. I asked questions on Code Newbie Slack. I opened up the MDN docs on Dash. I started to build it.

This gave me the confidence I needed to look at other projects. I found the documentation for the Alfred workflows I want to build. I feel comfortable reading those docs and I think I will be starting it soon.

Travis CI and Badges

It took me a while to set up Travis CI and badges. I still don’t know how to get the amount of commits I have made since a certain version of my app to show on the badge.

I wanted to use my GitHub page to show my documentation. It took me four hours to figure this out. I stayed up until 3 am trying to get it to work and I finally did it. This is where my badges are. I plan on adding more.

You can find my paltry docs here.

  1. I was going to just get my MFA and that was it until I saw him go for his MFA and law school. I then thought I could get a CS degree and an MFA but quickly abandoned writing as programming got more intense and I fell in love with it. ↩︎

CC BY-SA 4.0 Back to Pitt by Tiffany White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  • Megan Johnson

    I really admire your honesty. The topic of depression comes up often in the podcast I listen to for designers and developers. It’s far too common of a struggle for many people in this industry. You are not alone. Do pace yourself. You don’t need to ramp up to 110 mph once you return to school. I know of one guy who after nearly 20 years of coding for the web now looks for unusual sources for inspiration. In a way it challenges him to code differently simply by attending small social events, music concerts, art galleries, or just taking in nature. It works for him. I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you. None-the-less you are surround by people who get it. People who have faced a similar set of circumstances. I’m cheering for you.

    • twhite6878

      Hey thanks, Megan. It was like I was in hyperdrive during school– blogs, school, podcast, self-learning. It took its toll. I needed a medicine adjustment while this was going on and I was undone.

      Thanks for the support. It means a lot!