While searching about self hosting services and some kind of distributed social network I found about GNU social, a federated social network. GNU social wasn't in its most active year and I thought about helping them out as I had some experience with PHP! I had also recently read about GSoC in a forum and so figured that maybe I could make some while coding :)
Okay, now I just had to get a proposal done, easy, right? Right... Maybe not that easy but I was decided to get ActivityPub implemented, so the learning had started!
I got to know the fediverse and understanding both ActivityPub and GS's plugins interface. Before I actually started implementation of the plugin I have, fortunately, met Daniel Supernault who would become my co-mentor (and friend). He was equally interested about this plugin and helped me when AP would become overly confusing and when the implementation would reveal harder than anticipated.
I think GSoC 2018 worked fairly well with me, mostly due to the incredible folks around GS, it has had its highs and lows as everything, but in general... :) If you're interested in learning more about what was accomplished, refer to my tech report.
I'm happy that I've not only developed something useful but also met various new interesting friends during the summer. I wouldn't say this was only possible due to Google's initiative, in fact, I don't think this would have been much different without it, but I agree it's important that initiatives like these exist and that some people wouldn't have this chance otherwise.
The GSoC advantage: offers some structure and organization, (which you can use without being a participant), provides a helpful stipend and maintains a goal. I've had a lot of fun but I've also ended very tired which wasn't that good given that it ended in the beginning of the new academic year :/
I'm now organizing GNU social's Summer of Code 2019. Did I say that in the end of GSoC you earn a t-shirt and a sticker? The ultimate form of motivation!!!