During this time, I didn't realize when my holidays had ended and my 5th semester commenced. I had gained a lot of confidence and felt good that I had utilized my summers. I believe that these semester breaks are the best time to learn paramount topics and increment the skills. With the ongoing semester, I delved further into developing my skills along with the academic curriculum. It was not an easy task as managing both things were a little difficult. I was eagerly waiting for the semester to culminate so that I could focus entirely on developing and mastering my skills.
During my winter break, I had learned vital Git concepts and tried to get a good grip over the concepts. Theoretical concepts were not difficult but implementing them properly was a major challenge for me. The thing about Git is that The concept must be understood thoroughly otherwise it can be somewhat confusing but otherwise, it's a cakewalk. Now, I feel really proud of myself to have invested my time in learning and mastering Git.
It was in March 2019 that I heard from one of my friends about an Open Source Programme called Outreachy that provides Open Source internship to women and underrepresented people in technology. I immediately decided to apply for the Outreachy intern. It is a great opportunity for women who code. Outreachy has a time duration during which one has to select an open source organization and contribute there. going through the list, I found a couple of organizations that suited to my tech stack and finally I decided to contribute to Public Lab as it was beginners friendly. That had been the first time that I came across it and I'm glad that I did :)
It is very important to select the organization that matched your tech stack if you have less time as there are a lot of things to be done. Starting early is the best thing to do if you opt to explore and research other areas other than the one you are comfortable with.
Public Lab is a first timer friendly organization and welcomes newcomers and helps them complete their first contribution smoothly. The community members are astounding and I would like to thank all my mentors and fellow coder who helped me through my initial days and motivated me for more contributions. I was overjoyed to see the message that my first Pull Request was merged.
Everyone in this organization is focused and committed to the growth of the organization. No one would feel like a first comer even though they are. I only have praises for them _/\_
After my first contribution, I went for second, third and so on, and later started creating issues for the first timers and helping them. I learned Ruby on Rails in depth during this period, on which the codebase is based as I was fascinated with Public Lab. I used to miss my classes as I didn't have a watch on my time once I started contributing. It was great.
At that point, I had been aware of GSoC but wasn't ready to apply for it. One of my friends motivated me to try GSoC and helped me with my application process. It took me around 10 days to create my application but I wasn't satisfied even after submitting it. I had to do a lot of research, understand what all things needed to be solved and plan accordingly. My mentors always helped me whenever I got stuck anywhere. After the submission of my application, I once again started focusing on my Open Source work. I couldn't sleep at night if the bug wasn't fixed. I don't know when I became so passionate about coding but when I got selected I felt like. I was on cloud nine. I had been feeling quite restless on the day the results were declared. I couldn't concentrate on anything and was continuously waiting for the time to pass by. I had my exam on the next day and I wasn't ready for it. And when the clock struck 11:30 pm IST I was all smiles when I got to see my name in the list of accepted students. I was not even worried after my next paper.
The thing that helped me the most was that I used to be active in my community and would communicate with my mentors in case of doubts. Asking questions has always helped me learn a new technique to solve the problem. Today, I feel proud to be a part of such an amazing community.