How to Noob

One of the things people find extraordinarily difficult is how to start doing things. Short term things with immediate rewards are easy. But long term things with uncertain rewards are tough. Very, very long term things with even more uncertainty are nigh impossible.

Or are they?

We’re familiar with the things that stand in our way. Procrastination, demoralisation and loneliness, the lack of support and advice, and even toxic asses who mock and troll us. But there’s really nothing for it except to begin, and power through.

Where to Start

Start with MOOC’s. There are UdacityCourseraEdXKhan Academy, etc. There’s also Stack Overflow and Quora if you’re stuck on a question.

Community is Vital

If you need more help, try visiting a local hackerspace. Yes, most hackerspaces are male-dominated and you might feel uncomfortable there if you’re female. In that case, try looking for groups for women or the LGBTQIA. I don’t know where you’re based so I can’t tell you where to go for those. Maybe someone needs to put a list together.

For biology, go to DIY Bio. There’s a mailing list, and physical spaces.

There are bicycle kitchens where you can learn to fix bikes, and repair cafes where you learn to fix electronics. Conservationist groups are great places to start for biology. Just look around you, find these online, or ask around.

Beat Procrastination with Friends

If you can, find friends to learn stuff with. You don’t even have to be learning the same things. The idea is to motivate, urge and egg each other on. And you’ll feel bad not making it to a learning session. That helps.

Or, make your own group. Do it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other social media. Be the beacon and the clarion call to learning as a community. That’s possibly even better because the moment you set an event, you know you have to be there.

It’s vital to keep such events 100% fuss-free. Don’t bother with presentation. The place doesn’t have to be pretty. Just show up and learn.

Demoralisation and Last Resorts

When there’s no one around, when experts prefer mocking you rather than helping you, or when they offer to help you whenever you have problems but turn out to be too busy whenever you approach them (happens A LOT), when all else fails, it boils down to you. Motivate yourself whichever way you can. Loud music, snacks, caffeine highs…

The Noobhood is tough, and the Noob has to be creative, not simply tougher, to beat it. Be experimental. Try every solution you can come up with.

How have you beaten the Noobhood? Let me know at noobtropicz -|[at]|- gmail.com.