By Sofia Cabrera

As I sat down with a group of counselors my junior year of high school, I was asked the question: “What science class do you want to take your senior year?”

I had initially thought I’d take a basic science class (which was known to be an easy A), but my counselor recommended computer science. A multitude of thoughts ran through my mind, most of which included a fear of failing and disappointing everyone I know. Despite this overly dramatic assessment of computer science, I agreed to take the course.

Over the summer I recovered from my initial fear and became genuinely excited for the computer science course. However, my year in computer science was far from an easy A and I definitely endured late nights and tears of frustration. As a student in the International Baccalaureate program, I was accustomed to working amongst my peers, but computer science forced me to become individualistic. Coding is a highly detailed oriented skill that primarily permits the coder to fully understand the work.

Therefore, I was thrown out of my comfort zone and into a class where I would become confident in my abilities. Computer science challenged me to find a solution on my own. As the course progressed, I realized Google and those around me could only assist me to a certain extent. I had to rely on my own knowledge and skills to succeed.

Because of this, I know my computer science class had a tremendous impact on my future aspirations in my readiness for college, career and life. It also helped me grow specifically in these three ways:

1. Mentoring. The techniques I learned will allow me to assist others in many aspects of technology. For example, if a peer of mine or an adult needs assistance regarding computers, I can offer the skills I learned in computer science class. Prior to taking computer science, I had little to no knowledge of how websites or apps functioned. I am now able to produce a functioning website and comprehend problems that may arise when in development stages. Therefore, my skills include coding in java, javascript, HTML and CSS. These languages are the basis of many technological products and projects, so I am able to understand issues that could arise for others.

I truly enjoy helping others and hope to enter a career where I can teach and learn from those around me. Plus, I love being the one who figures out the problem with my teacher’s computer.

2. Advocacy. I believe that being a female in a technological field will give me an upper hand with peers competing for similar jobs. Being one of only four girls in my class is a great example of the shortage of women interested in STEM careers.

In the future, I want to help women enter fields like computer science and share the advantages of learning new skills. When I told any of my peers I was in computer science, they were in awe. Taking a computer science class as a woman shouldn’t be a shock but a common occurrence. Many people are scared of all that technology has to offer, but I believe it will give me an advantage in the future.

3. Grit & Perseverance. This course also taught me that I have a great deal of patience. Although I have to admit that I shed a few tears, things (usually) worked out. In terms of my future aspirations in life, I believe that having patience and resilience can be a great advantage. Working with others is an important part of any field of work.

Computer science definitely taught me to have patience when learning new things. While I still have to work on minimizing my perfectionism, I was able to step back and see that this is a strength of mine that will serve me well in the future.

So although I entered my computer science class with immense fear and self-doubt, I now have no regrets in my decision. After successfully passing the course, gaining my high school diploma and my International Baccalaureate Diploma, I would do it all over again.

Even if I decide to enter a field unrelated to computer science my skills will transfer to all fields. On top of the achievement of passing the course, I will utilize my coding skills for the rest of my life.

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Sofia is a freshman at The University of Texas at El Paso interested in computer science, social media and writing.


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