The New Horizon

Dwaylan Applewhite
4 min readJun 29, 2020


“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision, and change.” — Richard Branson

It is June 21st and I am less than two weeks away from completing web101… wow… we did it. I made it through the cyber ether. I learned to navigate through the matrix. I learned how to hold conversations and create with my coding software, spent countless nights stressing in front of my monitor, hours upon hours in tutoring, yet I made it through. You would think I would feel a sigh of relief knowing that I'll soon have my first certification but guess what?… I don’t.

I believe in authenticity and transparency, therefore I have to be honest and say that I worry about my strength in certain languages. HTML? Nailed it. CSS? Easy as 1–2–3. Javascript? *crickets*. “how can I move on if I’m barely grasping JS concepts” ran on a loop in my mind as I worked on my checkpoint website. Mind you I was building a website using concepts that were completely foreign to me last month. Floats, Grids, Flexbox, Media Queries, etc. A five-page website coming from the guy that couldn’t even link his CSS to his HTML pages or style “Hello World” on his landing page a month ago. I should be patting myself on the back, so why can’t I celebrate my victories?

The answer is simple. Perfectionism. I want to be perfect. I want my pages to be the perfect dimensions and responsiveness. I want to have a full grasp on all languages, and I want my concepts to steam flawlessly from whiteboard to wireframe to VS code. I want all of these wonderful things that clearly take more than a month's worth of an into class, and this desire of mine has created the perfect storm that birthed my new nemesis. His name is “Imposter syndrome”.

Imposter syndrome is seemingly the villain of every web developer’s story. It’s the Gannon, General Zod, Bowzer, Dark Samus, etc. It’s the boss battle you inevitably face before leveling up and moving to the next stage in your journey. It feeds on your self-doubts and worries blocking you from seeing your growth.

So how do I defeat imposter syndrome?

Once again, to be quite transparent, I don’t. You read that right. I do not. However, I can minimize it, and I do that by acknowledging it and the things that feed it but it will never go away. It is the yin to my yang. The dark part of that lives in the corner of my subconscious… Dramatic? Yes, a bit dramatic but true. My imposter syndrome feeds on my fear of imperfections, so if I take a deep breath and learn to be okay with bugs in my code or layout then he gets smaller. When I acknowledge that it’s okay if I’m going at a slower pace than the others around me as long as I go at my pace he gets smaller. When I get frustrated but take a moment to reflect on how far I’ve come as a novice developer my syndrome becomes so minuscule, and I feel a release of joy and calm. A joy and calm that I wouldn’t know if I didn’t have something to juxtapose it with.

The voice of reassurance

So we’ve discussed Imposter syndrome and the negative voice, but what is the antithesis of Imposter syndrome? If Imposter syndrome is the yin then, what I refer to as, The Voice of reassurance is the yang. This is the voice that speaks greatness into you. This is the voice that tells you not to give up. This is the positive region of the subconscious that believes you will achieve your goals, and it is critical to listen to this voice no matter how hard the Imposter Syndrome fights to be louder. Fight and try for this voice to be the winner because the winning voice is the one that manifests itself in your work and practices

The truth

Now we have our two voices. Imposter and Reassurance. In a perfect world, the voice of reassurance wins every time, however, that is not the world we live in as programmers and this is something I want you to know. In the last paragraph, I mentioned to try for the positive voice to win. Put forth the effort and attempt but know that it is okay if you lose the fight sometimes. Sometimes Mr.Imposter wins no matter how hard you try, and that is not a reflection of your capabilities. Sometimes we face crippling doubts, fears, and anxieties, and these feelings are valid feelings. We are venturing into new territories and the learning curve isn’t always going to feel manageable or fun, and that is okay.

“You win some, you lose some, but you live to fight another day”- John Witherspoon

The new Horizon

I know those last two paragraphs were a little heavy so let's lighten the mood a little bit. I don’t think I should use the phrase “hindsight is 2020” because… 2020 has been such a shitshow, but I will say 2020 created the perfect storm for major shifts in life, the biggest being my enrollment in this program. A year ago today, I was playing football in Chicago and looking for 32 bar cuts for my next audition in New York. Now I spend my time listening to podcasts on how to make my landing pages more engaging with specific CSS and Javascript elements. I was stuck in a dead-end job, and now I’m entering a field where my skill set is so in demand that I have a waitlist of clients, and job inquiries 8 months before I complete my program. It’s nice to know that even in the midst of a global pandemic I can still snag a job in tech, and I'm doing this all while battling imposter syndrome. And yes, I still lose from time to time.



Dwaylan Applewhite

Millennial performing artist and aspiring tech guru.