As I was filling out PyCon’s financial aid form, I came across the following question: Your Involvement. It wasn’t really a question it was more of a statement followed by a white text box and in smaller faded letters this description “Describe your involvement in any open source projects or Python communities, local or international.”
I thought “Okay, now I get it. I can do that!”. So I listed all the topics I wanted to cover in my answer and then it hit me.
I believe that’s called writer’s block. Yep. I was supposed to talk about me, and what I like to do I simply couldn’t. Go figure. So I took a deep breath. Walked around the room a little. Took another deep breath. Drank some water.
And then, like magic, the words came. Little did I know that the white box had a 1024 character limit and I ended up writing 2782 oops. Well, after putting my heart into this answer I decided, before cutting it down to 995 characters, that I would post the complete answer here. So brace yourselves.
I am part of a Python users group in Ribeirao Preto (a city in Sao Paulo estate) known as grupy-rp since the end of 2015, when the guys from grupy-rp went to my course’s academic week to give a day long workshop. It was a introduction to Python and deploy of a simple Django webapp to Heroku.
The majority of grupy-rp is composed by men, but still I kept going to the meet ups and became part of what I like to call my tech family. One of the guys there introduced me to the PyLadies, concept that I was totally unaware of, so I got in touch with other ladies in Brazil. And then, I met the second thing I love most about Python, a group of women that work together with a tool that I loved.
grupy-rp also organizes a local Python event known as Caipyra it was at this event that I got to know some amazing developers. Around the same time, the same friend that introduced to me to some PyLadies (which would work with me to create a new PyLadies chapter) had an opening in the startup that he worked for a Python Web Development Intern and said ‘You have to apply!’ after a lot of talking and doing and re-doing Django Girls Tutorial the idea of becoming a webdev grew on me and I applied.
Among other candidates I was accepted to work there. At that time I already felt at home, I used to go to the minor events, I talked about Python with the people I know, and I landed an internship with a guy that I consider one of my mentors. It was some intense seven months, a lot of self doubt and impostor syndrome to deal with, but at the end I know today that I’m capable of being a better coder every day.
And becoming a better coder also includes going to events and teaching what you know to others, so once the opportunity to become a Django Girls Coach came up I couldn’t let it pass by. I applied to become a coach to the girls during PyCon Brazil last year, and got a positive response a few months after the applications closed. I could not feel more loved.
Of course for all that to happen I had major encouragements from my mentors and friends in the Python community. This beautiful community that accepted me with open arms. And when time came, made everything in it’s power so that I would not feel excluded.
The way I find to give back all love that has been given to me is to help others so whenever possible I find time to contribute with open source projects such as PyLadies Brazil website or Projeto Serenata de Amor, which grupy-rp organized a sprint weekend to contribute, or posting something that I learned in a blog, or helping others study and sometimes just encouraging others as much as I was encouraged.
To Pam that read this while I was writing it for the first time and encouraged me to post it; To Pedro that keeps sending me the friendly reminders to finish the posts as requested; To Letícia that encouraged me to apply to PyCon finaid; To Marco my friend and mentor; And to Mari that is always very patient when giving me feedback about my writing. ❤
Edit: Right now I’m part of the Projeto Serenata de Amor as a full time developer and data analyst and I also graduated \o/