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Scaredy-cat's guide to Outreachy admission

Liudmila(Jade) K
Aspiring IT student, computer linguistics enthusiast. Outreachy 2020 Wikimedia intern.
・3 min read

I know, this year has been messy for everyone. My 2020 made me feel like a failure a lot: I had to drop out of the Uni right before the graduation because of mental health, and, after recovering, I kept failing my internship interviews. It made me struggle once again - I've always considered myself to be quite a smart one. I started to question myself once again, and the imposter syndrome started hitting me once again. "Maybe IT is not a path for me after all? What should I do with my life now?"

Searching for a job to apply to, I suddenly remembered about Outreachy. While being in high school, I heard about Google Summer of Code and after that I visited from time to time. Reading about it, I found out about Outreachy and registered for it just to read about submitted projects.I've dreamed of participating in such program as it would make me feel connected to the global community. And it's always been a dream to contribute to something huge - maybe a naive one, but still. And yet, I was unable to participate in such an event (or so I thought) because my university made us spent almost the whole June studying.

But now I had no Uni to depend on. So I decided to apply.

Step 1 was to write essays about yourself, the discrimination I faced and the situation in the industry in my country. It was quite uncomfortable experience to sum up everything I had to come through - and yet it made me think about the situation around open source in my community.

It felt very strange to acknowledge that no one had ever talked about helping open source projects, and some teachers I met were even gatekeeping us from contributing by saying that it's only for geniuses. But a lot of projects do need help, and not everything is as hard as it seems, and the community is always there to help you. These thoughts made me speak about open software in my social circles more.

Step 2 was to wait for the initial application results - and keep failing job interviews with HR managers not even answering my emails about things I could improve. I felt that it was kind of unfair but couldn't do anything.

Step 3 was to find out that your initial application was successful and now you have to decide on projects you want to participate in. And it was really, really hard, as there was so many great opportunities - and yet I questioned myself "Am I good enough"?

And then I had to skip 2 weeks because of illness.

So step 4 was to tell myself that doing something at least would bring me experience and I have to try at least. So I picked one of the projects from the "shortlist" of proposals which looked interesting (and Abstract Wikipedia seems to be fascinating project). I finished my microtask connected to it and submitted this solution on the final day of the application period.

And step 5 was to suddenly find out that I've been accepted as an intern! I felt really surprised and even visited the Outreachy's site a few times to check that it wasn't a mistake. And only mentor's emails made me understand that yeah, this is really happening.

So here am I, meeting the community and waiting for the work to start! And now it feels like it would be a pleasant journey, and that were was not so much to be scared at all. And overcoming yourself and making yourself try can be already good enough.

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