Whale Talk project help. And a couple of other questions

Here is the CC Whale Talk challenge.

I’m really having a hard time with the ‘Vectors’ section for some reason. I have felt pretty strong through the rest of the c++ course, but this section is really throwing me off.

I feel like I understand the concepts, but remembering what to type and where to type is is tripping me up.

How much should I lean on the hints? How much should I lean on looking at other peoples successful solutions? Is this a fairly normal part of the journey to learning a language?

decide what should happen and then get googling to find out what operations a vector supports and pick one that matches or pick several to combine into something that matches