Elephant holding an umbrella for a cat

In web development, being Human makes a big difference.

A couple of weeks ago, the cohort here at The Iron Yard started learning about MustacheJs. It was a rough day. It was a really rough day. For everyone. It was the third day of back end, and transitioning from Javascript to Node-Express had been difficult. But learning Mustache was just like adding one new thing to the pile of everything we already didn’t understand. Up until that point there were some students who were ahead, others who were behind, some who picked up on things quickly and others who didn’t. But for our cohort, that day was a great equalizer. At that moment, nobody got it, and we were all lost. Honestly, I would prefer having company in being lost anyway, rather than feeling like I was the only one who didn’t get it. But still, there was something scary about that day. Like, we were all on a ship that hit an iceberg, and we suddenly realized that somebody forgot to pack life jackets or inflatable rafts. The panic lasted for the rest of the day, from about 11:00am until about 5pm.

I share this experience because, I hope we can all relate to it, in some way or another. We’ve probably all had moments where we felt lost, alone or defeated. For some of us, those moments may appear to be more frequent than others. And while this experience for me happened to be while I was learning web development, you don’t have to be a web developer to experience it.

Now, let me preface this next part with the fact that we did have tools to understand Mustache. We had documentation, and other resources. But when you’re learning something really new like that, coupled with the fact that it’s your first time parsing through documentation like that, it can be difficult and overwhelming.

Regardless, about 4:30 that afternoon, something magical happened. One of my cohort buddies was leaving for the day. I had isolated myself outside the classroom to try and work through everything. As he was leaving, I asked him if he got it, or understood the material. He said he had looked through it all day, and finally made a breakthrough. Now, keep in mind, this guy was leaving for the day, and had somewhere to be, but he took 5 minutes out of his day, sat down with me, and explained to me how the Mustache tags worked. He even had me open up my file, so I could do it, and see it in action. I can’t even describe how much of a lightbulb/aha moment that was. All of the cloudiness of the day, the fog of misunderstanding had been lifted, and everything fell into place with incredible clarity.

And all it took was 5 minutes out of someone’s day.


Immediately, I was so excited to have discovered how this all worked, I went back into the classroom where myself and about 6 other classmates had been struggling. By this point, they had all given up, and moved on to another project. But I explained how it worked the best I could, using diagrams I drew on a whiteboard. The following day, 3 of my close friends in the class were still lost, so during lunch, I took them all into another room, turned on the projector, and went through it all again, step by step, until we all understood it. I felt like, because someone had shown me the kindness of taking me aside, and helping me, I would be ungrateful if I didn’t do the same for someone else. And it made a huge difference to those classmates.

I don’t say this to boast in any way. The point of all this is, that in web development and elsewhere, there are those that are struggling. And taking 5 minutes out of our day, to help someone else can not only change their day, but it can also change ours.

So no matter where you are, or what your situation is in life. My challenge is, when you have the opportunity, take 5 minutes. Help someone else. Be human. In a world that is quickly being overtaken by computers and technology, remembering to be human can make all the difference in the world.

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