Not to be overambitious

It’s been quite a while since I’ve sat down to write although I must have written this a long time ago.

Well, this post is about an incident that occured in my life and then went the moral of the story following it. Why does this moral has to appear in front of you only after the story end and thr character has suffered his part? I wouldn’t let this happern here. So what I learnt from that incident(actually someone told it in a talk a few days after I was succembed by that incident) was, “Not to be overambitious in life”.

The wise men say that every man must out limit himself, his performance. That is so true. But should he expect much more out of himself than what he actually is? And what happens in the end? You’re not upto your expectataions and then there is grief and mourning.

A few months ago, in march this year, I was planning to apply for Google Summer fo Code 2012. I had heard getting selected in it was damn tough and you had to already have contacts with the members of the organizations. Well and good. I took up the challenge.

I stareted evangelizing last years projects. Many of them went over my head,but I didn’t doubt my capabilities and still tried to figure out what was going on there. Then I came across GNOME. I had a certain positive feeling about it. An attraction towards it. I went throught the projects and found Getting Things GNOME was my thing. I started out. Read an e-book on GSOC, read about IRC channels, contacted mentors, previous participants, aspiring participants and what not.

I was started spending time in the IRC channel of GTG on GimpNet daily. I met a good guy (I hope he reads this) over there who taught me from scratch about Opren Source contribution and bug fixing. About pulling requests, commiting changes, merging branches, everything. I can’t be less grateful to him.

One of the projects that GTG realsed for this years GSOC was Redesigning the whole UI for the desktop software. I took that up. I solved a few bugs related to the UI, wrote a freakishly long proposal, worked on it for days, made concept designs. Summing up, I was totally into it, for almost 2 months. I didn’t think of anything else.

And what happened when teh results came out? They selected a guy, who was never to be seen on chat room, didn’t have his name in the contributors’ list (like I did). And what wa his project proposal? Putting up notifications on GTG or somthing, I can’t even recall it. I don’t know how many times smaller than my project. I was disgusted. But to reduce my agaony, everyone I knew also weren’t selected.

A few days later in our college’s LUG meet, a senior of mine told this -‘Always remember, ”Not to be over ambitious”’, Though he was particularly saying it to someone else, but it struck me at that moment. Was my project ptoposal too big to be accepted? Was I expecting myself to accomplish too much in a span of four months?

Well, I think you have to go step by step instead of making leaps.


One Comment on “Not to be overambitious”

  1. Izidor says:

    GSoC is a great opportunity for each OSS project. Several students are committed on features for the whole summer. In other words, the enormous progress is made during the summer. Everybody sees that, especially mainatiners of that project. If you choose somebody who can’t do that or struggles with it and needs an hour conversation to write a single line of code, you waste the precious resource. The safest path is to choose false negative (reject somebody amazing) over false positive (accept somebody who is not suitable for the task). As one who chooses, you have just couple hours to get know a student, there are many students, e-mail inbox is full. Many people use their intuition as the solution.

    Most wanna-be students overlook the most important part. Convince a single person to said “I will be your mentor”. An hour of intensive consultation with a potentional mentor is more than a hundred hours of hanging on IRC. Without a mentor, you can’t do GSoC, although you are a rockstar ninja. If you gain a mentor, she might help you in ways you can’t (talk to other people who select students, convince them that your project has the biggest chance to suceed)

    About being overambitious. The less ambitious project you propose, the higher chance of completing and not wasting resources. Although it sounds too simple to you, it might be still pretty hard with hidden traps and pitfalls. Possible mentor has more insight than you can have, it is not even game.

    If you stay by a project as a volunteer, you gain time to prove your skills and show what you can do. And then it is a very different game…

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