Pratishtha Abrol

Outreachy- Everyone Struggles

Entering my Outreachy internship with Tensorflow, I was very intimidated. With a severe case of Imposter syndrome dragging me down and an introverted nature, I was sure that the journey was going to be hard.

On the day we got assigned our first project, it seemed incredulously difficult. We had no idea where to start, and understanding what was expected of us was itself a humongous task. For the first week, we could only read and read and read, bild up our base to reach a level where we could contribute. It involved intensive research, and a daily catching up with the co-interns to collaborate and help each other.

Consequently, a meeting with all contributers to tensorflow add-ons rolled around.

It was here we realised that it is okay to ask for guidance. What we experienced in that meeting was an open discussion. Everyone was helping everyone. There were questions and they were always answered. That was the moment where I felt excited. Suddenly, I wasn’t feeling nervous about approaching my mentors or doubting my abilities as a programmer. I knew that any question I had would be answered without judgement.

With renewed confidence we were now pestering our mentors with questions atleast twice a week. And they were answering them all patiently, at times even giving us helpful references and starting points.

Over the course of the next week, we had drafted a proposal, had a meeting with our mentors where we explained all that we had learned and also started working on the code for implementation by the weekend. Surprisingly, I even volunteered to be the project leader, which was a huge step for someone as quiet as me.

I wouldn’t say everything is smooth sailing now. It isn’t. I’m learning new things everyday. It’s hard. But I am no longer afraid of the challenge.