I realized I had absolutely no idea what Computer Science was, so I signed up for a CS I class in my second semester of freshman year of college, hoping I'd find out. In that class, I learned how to make a few command-line games in C++ and struggled to keep my grade up. Truthfully, I really didn't know what I was doing even by the end of the class, but I enjoyed the challenge and still wanted to learn, so I kept going. I signed up for CS 2, then Data Structures.
In one of our first Data Structures classes, one of my girl friends turned to me and said, "so are you a CS major yet?!" and when I said I was still undecided, she was basically like, "what are you doing here then? You clearly enjoy it since you keep taking the classes." I didn't want to admit it because I still didn't exactly know what was possible with learning to code, but she was so right. I finally declared my major in Computer Science at the end of my sophomore year, when I realized I didn't want to stop learning about programming and problem solving.
I learned that you can turn any idea of yours into a reality if you know what tools to use and how to approach a problem. I realized this the summer after my sophomore year in college, when I first worked for Girls Who Code as a Summer Immersion Program teaching assistant. Helping teach other young women about all the possibilities that come with learning to code taught and empowered me as well, and I've been excited about tech ever since.
- having returned to teach another Summer Immersion Program class with Girls Who Code a second time as a lead instructor (video of my wonderful class here!)
- how far I've come: from not knowing the difference between an int and a char in C++ to teaching friends and family members how to code
- persisting and remaining positive, even though it's hard to figure out what my next move in life is or should be
- stories about teaching computer science (especially w/ Girls Who Code!) and how it can be scary but immensely rewarding
- feedback on your resume (this is, like, one of my favorite things to do)
- help with learning things you might not have been taught in school like how to use APIs or read code documentation or use GitHub
- advice on coming up with cool projects to work on
- advice on networking in person (genuinely connect w/ others!) and online (Twitter's the best)
- a pep talk on how awesome you are if you ever need a reminder 💕
*seriously––if I can help you at all, I'd love to! I also really enjoy meeting and talking to new people, so feel free to follow me on Twitter or something so we can be friends :)
- playing piano
- hugging my Australian shepherd puppy
- going to improv shows and jams
- thinking about my life and writing about my day in a marble notebook
- probably finding a hundredth new skill I want to learn and get good at
Don't give up! The tech world can be an intimidating and intense place, but don't let it keep you down. It's also filled with wonderful, supportive people. Ask for help when you need it, because there are plenty of people who would love to give it. Believe in yourself, because we all believe in you. Keep going. Your place is in tech.