I started my first job in engineering last week, and am writing to recap my journey, and to say thank you to the FCC community and Quincy. This community gave me a path to follow when I lost the only path I knew of. A bit of background.
I come from a modest family in Peru. During my senior year of high school, I received news that I was moving to the USA. Here I got into a prestigious college studying CS, but struggled with clinical anxiety, a disease I was diagnosed with as a kid. I needed to psych myself up in the mirror to be able to go to classes. I trembled my entire way there, and was unable to order food. This was no shyness, and in no way a part of my character.
I kept pushing, through. But my emotional health kept declining, until I wasn’t able to leave my room anymore. Agoraphobia is a weird word I had only used before in a trivia quiz, but back then was my daily reality. It would make it impossible for me to go outside, even when I was starving.
I had to drop out, but I wouldn’t. I grew up with a deeply ingrained idea of what constituted a viable career path (school -> college -> work) and wouldn’t consider anything but. I stayed like this for over two years.
When I finally left college, spent, guilty and disoriented, I started looking for another path. I decided to spend a year learning what I needed to find a job as a Full Stack Developer. Following the curriculum of FCC, I learned Node, got comfortable in JS, and built multiple sites with React. Around two months ago I started applying to jobs.
My anxiety took years of trying medications and countless, countless hours of therapy, but I finally got it controlled. It has gone from an excruciating disabling disease, to a mild annoyance at house parties. I cannot stress the role of psychotherapy for this enough.
It took me years and thousands of hours of boring hard work to get a job. But it would be foolish of me to ignore the immense privilege of moving in the states, and of having a stable loving family to support me while studying.
I hope this gives a drop of hope to someone right now going through similar circumstances. These are diseases in the same way diabetes is, and no amount of willpower will allow you to push through reality. Get help, let go of your prejudices, take care of yourself. And then get to work.