The Pursuit of Happiness … and Code

Jordan Kellerstrass is a 2012 Google Summer of Code student for OpenMRS. This entry is cross-posted from her blog: http://jquerencia.wordpress.com/

Monday morning, my Google Summer of Code mentors at OpenMRS and I had a Skype meeting to reflect on the summer so far and talk about what should be happening over the next six weeks. We spent about half of the time talking about a new and improved project plan to do more, small iterations rather than one linear kind of process. Agile style. I might not get as far as I wanted to by August 20th, but I will have a good first version that has end to end design and code patterns.

The second theme of our conversation was public communication. I now have a Post-it taped to my laptop with all of my goals for community involvement via mailing lists, this blog, Developer Forums, IRC, etc. This communication is the glue of the community, as my mentor Glen called it. I completely understand and appreciate the value of getting more involved. I actually don’t think of myself as being quiet or shy all the time, but there is anxiety around knowing everyone can read my questions and comments that expose exactly how much I do and don’t know. On the other hand, I have every reason to believe that they will bear with me while I get more comfortable speaking up, and it will be easier with time.

One of my earlier posts mentions the consolation of vocation that I was feeling with this whole opportunity. That feeling was because I found this meaningful outlet for my chosen academic major. Then later this week, I was learning the “science” behind how JSP’s work within MVC. My other mentor Janet and I found a virtual whiteboard and she drew me a picture of how the different pages might communicate with a controller. I applied this logic to my code and felt like I had just learned a new magic trick or something… This isn’t even work. This is fun.

Speaking of magic tricks, this week I also implemented OpenMRS on the server I adopted at Creighton: http://goose.creighton.edu:8080/openmrs/

Unrelated note on Independence Day: In the past 12 months I have learned more about US history than ever, and some of it is really ugly and overwhelming. On that note, I had a professor last semester explain the difference between patriotism and nationalism as sticking up for our values versus supporting our country no matter what it does right or wrong. Cheers to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that doesn’t exploit our neighbors.

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