I’m a Computer Science Major and I Love It

When I tell people that I’m majoring in computer science, I usually catch them by surprise. I’m a small town girl; I was born and raised on a tiny ranch in Eastern New Mexico. Both of my parents are teachers, and my brother is going to work in education, too. Most of my friends (and my roommates) are going to school for agriculture, so it’s hard to believe that I found a place in the field that I did.

When I first started college, I had no idea what I wanted to study. For a while, I debated being an editor, or maybe a journalist. I even considered being an English teacher for a while. However, none of these things seemed right; they didn’t fit me. They were things that I knew I could do, but I wasn’t passionate about them, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start a career in them. I stumbled into college lost and confused. I signed up for introductory classes left and right, desperate to find something that I wanted to do. Fortunately, one of the classes that I signed up for was Computer Science 111.

I had no idea what I was doing. Day one, my professor seemed to be speaking jibberish. He spewed out random words like Java, binary, compilers, computer languages. My classmates nodded along while I desperately wrote down every piece of information, hoping that some of it would stick. By the time the week was over, I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to pass a computer class, much less get a degree in it. 

That Friday, we had our first lab. We opened up the application and my professor explained, step by step, how to type each line of code. After a little bit of struggling and a lot of de-bugging, I finally stopped getting errors, and I had my first program. I clicked ‘Run’ and two words popped up on my screen: “Hello World.” It was simple, but to me, it was exciting. 

Most of my classmates had already taken some kind of computer science class in high school, so I was behind in my education. However, I worked hard, studied, and showed up for every single class. The labs got increasingly more difficult, but I finished all of them, and I was eventually able to do so without help. Each week, we would have a different problem, and I wrote and re-wrote programs until I had something that would work. There was nothing more satisfying to me than creating a working program; it’s that sense of pride and accomplishment after working out a problem that seemed impossible.

About halfway through the semester, my professor approached me and complimented my coding abilities. He encouraged me to change my major, swearing that computer science was a field that I could fit into. After a little bit of debating, I decided to take his advice. I was a little bit behind my classmates, sure—but I’m a fast learner and a hard worker. I was actually excited for my class, and I was thrilled to be a part of the field.

I am now in my third semester of college. I have taken several more computer classes, where I have learned to challenge myself. I’m looking for IT jobs and internships as a software engineer. I have currently learned three programming languages, and I am teaching myself a fourth one in my free time. Not all of my assignments have been easy, but I have been able to work hard and find resources to help me get them done. People that knew me in high school are surprised by my choice, and sometimes, I am too; However, I have never once questioned my decision. 

College is about exploration. Some people know what they want to do before they even graduate high school, and that’s fine. Some people don’t have any idea what they want to study, and that’s fine too. I’m grateful for my experiences because I have found a subject that I enjoy; my major challenges me and allows me to learn every day. I am confident that I have found something that I would like to work in for the rest of my life.