Learning Log, Apr 2020: day by day

Posting these Learning Logs during the COVID-19 pandemic feels somewhat uncomfortable. All of us are going through some of the most impactful challenges to the global community in generations. This does difficult things to focus, comprehension, and energy. This does difficult things to livelihoods and physical safety. It’s hard on most of us, to varying degrees; in certain situations, it is all folks can manage to get from one day to the next.

I write my Learning Log mostly as a record for myself, and in case other people find any of this of interest. I am guilty of this myself, but: please don’t benchmark yourself against what other people share on the internet. We all have our own contextual blend of resources and privileges, and most of us filter heavily in what we share online (I am doing this right now!). Please be gentle with yourself, especially in times of high stress. “Productivity” may not even be anywhere near your radar right now, and that is extremely OK. 💖

*takes a moment to internalize my own words*

What I’ve been up to

  • Sewing masks. This pattern requires no elastic, in case you’re having trouble tracking that down (I didn’t even bother, based on what I heard about availability at the time).
  • Early in the month I chatted with students and alumni from my alma mater, the University of Florida Graphic Design program. Cassie McDaniel and I teamed up to share our life experiences and answer questions about navigating the design and tech industries. I wish I could take away all the stress students are feeling right now—especially the seniors—but I feel thankful for opportunities to connect and support my community. Big thanks to Maria Rogal for providing those opportunities.
  • Lately I’ve been fixating on whether I add value to my professional communities. Forsaking my own be-gentle-with-yourself advice, I tend to consider only objectively-positive qualities or perfect execution as “adding value”. The other day someone more junior than me shared concerns on how efficient and knowledgeable they were in a particular space; their vulnerability enabled me to share that I have those same kinds of worries, too, and it seemed to give them some relief that this is a common part of the learning process. That was a good reminder to me that the qualities we don’t like about ourselves—for me, that anxious feeling I am never enough—can be exactly what we need to “add value” to those around us.
  • And in more trivial realizations…after a file opened in VS Code with 4-space tabs, it dawned on me that I’ve done a complete about-face with regards to tab sizing. The first time I came across 2-space tabs in the wild, I thought, “what is the point of tabs if you’re going to make them that small?” Now I’m ride-or-die for 2 spaces. 😂

Good Things

I made a tiny one-pager site called Good Things to compile some good sensory things in life:

A one-page website displaying in large text a list of nice, simple things

This was a pre-COVID-19 idea but has been highly useful to me as of late, whenever I need to retreat from pandemic-related anxiety into a happy place. I wrote a bit more on Good Things, including randomizing the list at build time.

On the Internet

Reading

Cooking

Content warning: food and alcohol

🤷‍♀️: fine, no pressing need to make again
👍: I like it, would cook again
🌟: I love it!

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