The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As a computer science major, it can be difficult to not get discouraged by the idea that so many of my peers are male. It can be hard when some of the guys in class don’t think you can be telling them the correct answer or explanation because they must know more than you since they are men. After a semester of feeling someone defeated, I figured out some ways to stay encouraged.
- Make an All-Girls Study Group!
An all-girls study group creates a welcoming environment for the other girls in your classes that might be male-dominated. In my experience, studying with girls is often a less judgmental environment, as the majority of the judgment I have felt while asking questions has come from men.
There’s less pressure to prove to female peers that you belong in that class or major because they are in the same boat as you. Feeling less pressure to prove yourself can make studying less stressful and more productive.
- Find Female Role Models Within Your Industry
Having someone to look up to is important no matter what field you are going into, but it is especially important if there are fewer people who look like you in the industry you want to be a part of. For computer science, men have historically dominated the field, meaning there are fewer women in the industry to look up to. This number continues to decrease for minorities, such as women of color and disabled women.
For me, the ideal role model would be a Latinx disabled woman, but how many people like me are there in the industry? Many male-dominated fields hold conferences specifically for women in the industry to be able to connect as well as network.
- Stop Listening to Your Imposter Syndrome
Easier said than done, I know. Yet, when you start ignoring that little voice in your head telling you you aren’t good enough, you’ll start realizing just how capable you are.
The best way to combat the imposter syndrome is to prove to yourself that you do belong in your goal industry. Hitting the books and getting the grades you want is the best way to show yourself, and your male peers, that you deserve your spot in the classroom and the industry.