Getting back into code after a lengthy break

Posted by RaineSkye on September 29, 2018

Coming back from a break while learning a programming language is hard. The longer time away, the harder it is. I am reminded of an experience a few years ago in which I took swimming for two terms at a local community college. The pool was outdoors and it was heated. Come winter term however, it was like someone turned off the heat! The instructor would motivate us for just getting in the water, you were allowed to leave if you decided it was too cold for you once you’d gotten in. Our lucky instructor never got in the water herself. Sometimes we did acclimate to the temperature, other times we all got out because it was too cold. Eventually we just got used to it made do. Later I heard that the college had cut the budget due to financial troubles, which explained about the pool.

Recently I was traveling in choppy internet country, in the boonies. I made the decision to pause my Learn account. I’ll get back to it when I can focus on it, I told myself, this way I can enjoy my vacation and spend some time with family.

I expected that it would be tough to get back into the swing of things, I expect I would need to review some concepts, then I expected to pick things up right where I had left the code. Check, Check, and Triple Check. Of course, things fell pretty much into that pattern upon coming back.

2 months apparently is too long to be away when you are learning a new programming language. I opened up to where I had left off, the code did not speak to me. I back traced a little through lessons and labs, then I back traced alot more. I checked out a library book on the subject and did all the practice. Basically I had to review everything I had learn. The beauty of that is I came away with an appreciatively deeper understanding for the logic and semantics of the language.

Coming back after the lengthy break felt so reminiscent of that experience of swimming in the pool in winter time. You have to psych yourself up to dip a toe in, then two. Even once you were in there were times you had to get out of the pool because you were acclimated. However, once you get going it’s freestyle baby.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. What is it? Not to take lengthy breaks unless you like to swim in frigid waters of course!!