I do realize that struggles are inevitable when one is immersed in a new environment and learning something new. But I didn’t expect that my own anxiety would be much bigger issue than the technical ones during these first weeks of internship.
I’m scared of meeting new people and this is what the internship ramp-up period is all about. You get to know your team, you meet people from the community and your fellow interns. For people like me, who gather words for hours just to introduce themselves, it’s like a ton of new interactions that require a lot of mental effort. The other related problem is I don’t feel comfortable working in open: specifically, asking for help from the community. This is not the case with the people I know well enough or used to work with: I ask them lots of questions to clarify things and align expectations. But it’s way harder to reach with questions to folks I barely know. Not impossible, but harder.
I remember I got stuck on one issue during a contribution period. I spent hours trying to make some progress, and constantly postponing the need to ask my mentors to give me a hand. Because I didn’t want to sound stupid even though my mentor always stresses the importance of being able to speak up when one needs help or has questions. Eventually, I decided that finishing the task is important to me enough to show my ignorance and ask a bunch of stupid questions (though they were not that stupid probably). In the hindsight, it was the right decision and absolutely nothing bad came out of it.
I think that at the end of this post I’m expected to give a bunch of advice on how to overcome the fears and get unstuck. But I don’t have any. There’s no silver bullet, so do whatever works for you to make a progress towards your goals. As for me, I’m conscious that software development is not only about software. It’s about people and communities as well. Thus I do my best to overcome the fear of approaching people daily. And I must admit I’m getting better at it :)