Coding Crisis | Teen Ink

Coding Crisis MAG

December 18, 2018
By 200027 BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
200027 BRONZE, Mundelein, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Everyone’s got a reason they love summer; I love it because staying up till 1:00 a.m. isn’t considered late for me. So that’s what I did. I remember one June night before my Junior year, in particular. I was solving issues with my code faster than normal, and I kept drinking bottles of water to stay awake. Eventually, every surface of my desk was plastered with plastic. Only my desk and I were illuminated in the room.


The room may have been empty, but my computer screen was filled with if statements, executables, and other code jargon. My goal: to create a world with floating islands, night skies filled with stars, and creatures of all varieties of size and beauty. It was a work in progress, and I had only created a forest surrounded by blank tiles as far as the eye could see. One step at a time, I thought. For now, I gotta fix a mushroom so it bounces me ten feet in the air for an upcoming level.


I shifted the code around, trying to find the screw up. Maybe I put a semicolon in the wrong spot? No, I checked again for the third time. I investigated the code but failed to find anything. Maybe it’s a dumb idea anyway, I sighed. I mean why do I want the mushrooms to work like trampolines?


However, I didn’t give up. I searched through the code like a teacher examining a paper for spelling mistakes. Everything seemed spelled correctly and the grammar was fine, but something still wasn’t working. I glanced at the time. I should just go to bed – it’s late ….


“Do you need my help?” my friend Alex asked. Oh yeah, we’d been sitting in silence for so long that I forgot he was in the room.


“Nah, I can do this,” I replied. It didn’t show in my voice, but I was annoyed that he asked. What does he think? That I can’t code the mushroom to act like a trampoline? I don’t need him to help me.


Half an hour later, I still couldn’t find any errors. I changed the material of the mushroom. I changed the physics and the gravity of the character for a short time. I altered everything I could think of to get the mushroom to act like a trampoline.


After another 30 minutes, I began to give up. “I’m going to take a little break.” I sighed.


“Do you need help, dude?” Alex asked again.


“I can do this, it’s fine.” I raised my voice a little. “Just give me some more time.”


“You’ve been working on the bounce code for so long – let me help, you probably just need a fresh set of eyes.” I was reluctant to let him look but realized I didn’t have any way of stopping him.


A few minutes passed. “You forgot to link the code to the mushroom. The code you used would work, but it isn’t activated.”


I sat in silence for a moment before murmuring, “Thanks.”


“Listen man, don’t feel you need to do everything by yourself. Do you know why we work together?”


“Why?” I sigh.


“To kick more ass together than we can by ourselves.”


It’s weird where you can pick up life lessons. I didn’t think I’d pick one up at 2:30 a.m. from my friend Alex, of all people. I know he didn’t realize how much of an impact he left on me. Leaning on others doesn’t result in dependence on them. After all, no one gets anywhere today without working with others. Just don’t tell Alex I learned from him; he’ll hold it over my head forever. 

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