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:
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.
For more, see:
- An All-Girls School Takes Computer Science to the Next Level with Global Collaboration
- Empowering Girls to Become Future STEM Stars
- 5 Ways to Create a Hip and Happening Podcast
Sofia is a freshman at The University of Texas at El Paso interested in computer science, social media and writing.
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