It’s Not Over

My OPW internship period may be over, but my project definitely isn’t. The new swapoff implementation, the project that is specific to the internship, gave us a little surprise that not even my mentor anticipated. I’m fixing that now; then I’ll present it to the mm community, and guided by the feedback I receive, I’ll polish it bit by bit until it’s accepted (or rejected) for inclusion in the mainline kernel. The times in between will give me the perfect opportunity to segue into more work, broader involvement, and maybe even another project.

I’ve learned a lot about the kernel and about the development process, for sure. I’ve seen a big change in who I am with respect to my work, but I’ve seen an even bigger change in who I am as a person. This is the first time in my life I’ve been paid more than pocket change to do work that I care about and enjoy, and the first time the chance of a career at it has been real. Crossing that threshold requires a fundamental change in my self-image. This was the real challenge of my internship, and it’s one I will continue to struggle with for some time.

For that reason, I wish I’d have involved myself in the community more. I wish I’d spent more time on the Planet and on linux-mm, reached out more at SCaLE, and connected with people in general, both that I knew before and encountered during the internship. My fears and sense of inadequacy drained a lot of my energy and productivity, and kept me in relative isolation, as they are wont to do.

Still, I’m glad to have been through it all. Ostensibly, OPW is designed to get women into Free Software; but in order to do that, it has to nurture its inductees through changes like the ones I’m going through. That’s its deeper purpose. It fulfills it well.

I’d like to give a big thank you to my mentor, who has gone above and beyond for me; to the program administrators; to the sponsors; and to everyone involved. You’ve done a lot of good for me, and for the world, and I’m sure you will do a lot more. As I said, it’s not over.

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