Dan Schoonmaker
Software Engineer
Published on

That time I wasted a month of my life trying to fit in...


Gather round everyone! It’s story time…

Today I’m going to share an embarrassing story about the time I created a ton of video content and then deleted it all because I was self-conscious and embarrassed that others would judge me.

Let me start by saying that I really admire anyone who records themself and shares it on YouTube. It’s something that I’ve dreamt of doing for years, but every time I start I come up with an excuse and give up. While it’s not much different from sharing on other social networks, something about being on video, and those opinions surfacing years later, get in my head.

Back in 2016 I was getting out of a long-term relationship and found myself with a ton of free time. I thought it would be cool to start a YouTube channel and teach others how to code. At the time, I had about 6 years of professional coding experience, a computer science degree, and thousands of hours of side projects under my belt. I thought it would be easy to share what I knew with others.

I began outlining course after course. Javascript, Node, React, Angular, any framework I had ever worked with.

Now it was time to get to work. But first, I had to make sure my coding environment was perfect. I was a full-stack Java/Javascript developer and had always used Eclipse and eventually IntelliJ to write my code. But now I was creating courses on Javascript and every other course/tutorial on YouTube was using Microsoft’s newly release Visual Studio Code. What would people say if I was using this big, bulky IntelliJ to do my Javascript course? I should download VS Code and use that instead.

I recorded hours and hours of myself fumbling around on my computer, trying to figure out how to use this brand new code-editor. There were long gaps of silence as I tried to figure out where everything was and mentally re-mapped all these keyboard shortcuts I had memorized. It felt like I had never written a line of code in my life.

This is when I quickly learned what impostor syndrome felt like.

Who was I to teach others how to code? What are my qualifications? I can’t even figure out how to use VS Code, these other software developers must just be smarter than me.

When it was all said and done, I had recorded hours of the most incoherent course you’ve ever heard. I held onto it for a few months and debated whether or not I should upload it to YouTube. Eventually, I decided to delete the files and pretend like they never existed.

Fast-forward to today and I can’t believe I was so concerned about what other people would think. It’s not even like I posted the videos and received a bunch of negative comments. I didn’t even give these videos the chance to fail.

On a good note, I learned a valuable lesson around sticking with what I’m comfortable with and not chasing trends.

Maybe one day I’ll even get around to starting that YouTube channel 👀 🎬