Balancing Coding with Summer

Going into this project of building the Android Physical Therapy fitness app, I did not know how difficult it would be to balance an independently driven project with the hectic nature of summer. The progress has undeniably been slow but yet steady. Not only am I learning about Android programming, but I am learning more about myself. Previously, I have struggled with working on coding projects and assignments in a structured and sensible way. I struggle with procrastination and then as the deadline approached, I would finally feel the surge of motivation. At that time, I can be extremely productive in a short amount of time. Previously, working on coding in a compressed fashion, helped me generate the most cohesive program.

Making this app has made it clear to me that that is not the best way to complete a project in a job setting. With this research/internship, I have had to set my own deadlines and goals throughout the summer. At first my sights were too high and I had to moderate my expectations of myself. In a very real sense, I am learning as I progress throughout the project. Working as a programmer is incredibly different from doing programming assignments. Several days a week, I set aside time to work on the app throughout the day. I have had to allot time and give equal share to research, learning through informative videos and reading, and correspondence with the client in addition to actually coding the app. I still have so much to learn about the Android programming environment, and every time I use it, I learn new shortcuts and ways to improve style and accessibility. There has been a much steeper learning curve than I anticipated, and I am incredibly grateful for my Java programming background and experience with XML.

I am pleased with the current progress on the app. Even though I have to learn how to implement new aspects or to use computer jargon-“methods and controls”, you only have to learn how to do it once and then can reuse that knowledge over and over again. Hopefully, as the semester begins, I will be able to meet with the Physical Therapy professor who is the client more regularly. The summer has been a difficult time for coordinated communication, but I am sure that will be remedied in September. I believe we are on track for the prototype presentation in the spring of 2016.

Lisa H. Morgan

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