When applying to college, I always knew that I wanted to pursue something in the STEM category, but I never knew what I wanted to do. That was until I took an AP Computer Science class and instantly fell in love with coding, and knew that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. However, I did not know the challenges that would come with being a woman in a STEM major and I think it is important to be prepared for what comes with the job.
During the first weekend of school, all of the freshman Computer Science majors sat in a lecture hall to go over the basics. This was nice to see all of the students I would be potentially graduating with. However, I was one of four girls sitting in that room. My first piece of advice here would be to not let this intimidate you. Though it might seem scary and that you have to tackle this alone, you are not alone. One thing that really helped me was joining the club Wildcat Women in Computer Science at UNH. The girls in that group and I would get together and talk about our classes, our issues and anything that we needed help with. I would definitely recommend finding a club like this at your college, because it can make the major less lonely.
Being in a male dominated major, it is very easy to have your thoughts be invalidated by other people. I know it seems difficult, but it is always better to stand up for yourself in these situations. I have been put in many scenarios where my thoughts were put down by someone because they did not think I knew what I was talking about costing our group our grade. I think it is important to fight for your thoughts, because it is important to be recognized as well.
Lastly, I would definitely recommend befriending your professors and teaching assistants. This can sometimes be a nerve wracking process, but they definitely want to help you and will be your number one resource throughout your journey at college.
Being a woman in STEM can be a difficult job, but it is super important for us to be represented in these fields. If your dream is to be a computer scientist, I would definitely recommend doing so. It was hard work but absolutely worth it.