When I was little, people always asked me the question “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” That phrase has always seemed like a multiple-choice question where I was only allowed to pick one answer. That one option cycled between doctor, lawyer, and engineer throughout much of my Haitian, daughter of immigrants, upbringing. If I was ever passionate about something besides my one designated answer, it got a big ‘H’ mark, for Hobby.
I’ve learned during my quarter-century lifespan, however, that the question “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” isn’t multiple choice. There is an infinite blank space that I can fill up for how I live my life. I thought my family, friends, and society were providing the only possible answers for how to build a passion and a career. I recognize these sources have helped me construct core values, but it is my unique perspective and experience that ultimately drive my actions. I may sound like I know what I am talking about, but I only recently made this discovery. I’m learning how to build my life the same way I build a website – one meaningful step at a time.
I was always the person who brought others together. With my family, I made sure to highlight the qualities in each member that made us stronger as a unit. With my friends, I mediated conflicts between us. In school, I brought classmates together so we could succeed as a whole. I was, and still am, a bridge that connected the people around me in a healthy way.
Growing up in the 90s, my connections relied on face to face contact. In the early 2000s, my life changed completely with the introduction of household computers. No longer did I have to wait, because the Internet allowed me to connect to people I knew in real life and make new connections instantly. Throughout my high school and college years, the world became increasingly small to me – a series of infinite links and relationships, but many seemed superficial. Though the Internet provided an instant tie to others and their ideas, I’m excited to use computer science to bridge these experiences in the healthiest way I can. It is crucial that people connect in a way that encourages a positive community.
I recognize I’m innately good at helping others feel supported and heard. My passion for fostering connections is not without structure, for I back up my natural skills with academic theory. I recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hunter College in New York City, and I know for certain that my background in the humanities is making me a better computer scientist.
I’m excited to learn more about how to build a better Internet, an Internet that sees the world as human-focused as I do. Not only this, but it’s empowering that I can build an entire system of links, actions, and community with my own fingertips. Even in my brief experience self-teaching computer science, I believe it’s the missing component to fulfill what I am meant to do and help answer the question “Who do you want to be when you grow up?”