Education Networking Reflections

Reaching Out

Yesterday Sacha Chua put up a blogpost entitled “What can I help you learn? Looking for mentees“. I’d been following her blog for a while now, and got out of the lurking stage and started commenting periodically, so of course I was like, “me me me!”.

If you don’t read Sacha’s blog, go and grab the RSS – you can take your pic of categories too, which is neat. I should work out how to do that! In the meantime you can subscribe to separate categories by going to that page and clicking on the RSS icon in your navigation bar (where the URL is), here’s the one for visualization.

But I digress, Sacha was really nice in her response and has already left loads of great comments and insights in comments on my blog. I’m looking forward to learning even more from her than I have been already.

Credit: flikr / kelvin_luffs
Credit: flikr / kelvin_luffs

And now I have three mentors! Two of them even know it, as well.

Tammy – I worked with and although we didn’t quite understand each other in the beginning, she thought I didn’t adore the Mall of America and was joking about going off to China to kick-box when we were done, she went from my boss to my friend. She’s super inspirational (she works three jobs and is still lovely, and still creative) and she (somehow) finds the time to take an interest in what I’m doing and cheer me on.

Treena – I met at Democamp, neither of us realized the other was British from our accents (I think we both think we talk normally) and she took me in search of PG Tips. Treena gives me great advice like, “Schedule at 80% of Capacity” (yes, she is a physicist – how could you tell?) and helped me clarify why I don’t want to do a PhD. She blogs here.

Sacha – as I mentioned above, I’ve been following her blog after finding it from one of her shy connector presentations. OK, I’m not that shy, but I do get intimidated by large groups of people and these presentations have some great tips. She’s also International (from the Philippines) and, I think, a programmer who speaks fluent human, which is what I want to be, too.

Yes, I’m super lucky to have encountered these people but I think they key is to be open to the possibility that you can learn from people, stay in touch, listen, give what you can in return. Some people are (genuinely!) so nice that they just enjoy feeling that they’re helping.

Sacha’s invitation for “mentees”, is really cool, I think. Indicating that you’re open and want to help invites people to interact with you. Who knows how long I would have continued lurking / commenting periodically if she hadn’t.

So I’d like to pass it on: if there’s anything you feel I could help you with, topics you’d like me to blog about more, slide-decks I could make (particularly about Java, and Processing but I might also do some stuff on Haskell and Functional Programming) – tell me!

I check my stats every day, I know you guys are here – but I guess many of you are still in the lurking phase. Talk to me! It would make my day, and if I could help you out at all, I’d be even happier.

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