This was my first Hacktoberfest (Along with first open source contributions), and the overall experience was..... Great!
I had started looking for repositories from late September. (The opt-in rule was not yet implemented.) I had found a couple of repositories through "Who's looking for contributors" Dev post, and was going through issues and code to see what I can contribute.
Along with that, I was also interested in Rustlings repository, Which helped me a lot when I was starting to Learn Rust. I found an issue which I thought I could work on, and had a plan on how to tackle it. I had also found a project of a simple C compiler in Python, in which I had asked and was assigned an issue in last couple of days of September. When the Hacktoberfest officially started, on 1st October, I had two PRs ready, and on my profile in digital ocean, the bar had moved 2 steps forward.
I was feeling quite happy as both of my PRs got merged without any changes required, and I was already done with half of the goal. I had also contributed (a small bit) to something that had helped me, and was feeling happy. After that I started to look for some other repositories to contribute, and as I usually do JS and WebDev related projects, looked for something different that those.
I found a few such repositories, but most of the issues there were already assigned to people.With about two weeks in, I was getting a bit worried, and went back to the same compiler repository and took on another issue. This time the PR I made required some changes, but after those, it got merged.
And now, comes the (little) bitter part of the experience. I had decided not to contribute to repos which were solely made for earning PRs, as in my opinion not only this was against the spirit, but also I didn't actually made any contribution to projects. So I started looking for repos, and one of my friends, who was also participating, suggested me a repo. I checked it out, and it had some issues which I thought I could do. So I requested to get assigned, and then started working. I solved the issue, made the PR as per contributing guidelines, and after a couple of days of wait, it got merged without any changes.
I checked my digital ocean profile, and seeing the bar completely full with last two PRs in review period, I was ecstatic. I had participated and completed it for the first time!
After this, I went to work on some of my other projects which had close deadlines. On 1st of November I got notification that hacktoberfest was over, so I went to my profile to check how much of review time was remaining, and it showed...the last PR was ineligible for Hacktoberfest 😞 😖 😢
I was shocked, as I was sure I had seen the profile saying "You have completed 4 PRs" after my last PR got merged. I even went back and checked the issue and it still had the hacktoberfest label. At this point the only thought was maybe the owner has removed hacktoberfest label from repository, and hence it didn't count.
Then, I thought for a bit, and realized..... that it was fine. I was going to request for the tree anyway (Yes I was!) and irrespective of if I had "officially" completed it or not, I had actually contributed to projects, which was supposed to be the main aim anyway!!!
So, that was my (bitter)sweet experience of my First Hacktoberfest. The people I interacted with were very nice and helpful, and it was fun getting to know all the projects..an overall an amazing experience 😄 😄 😄