“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”
—Carl Sagan (American astronomer)
Growing up in a family of medical professionals, I was so sure of what I wanted to become.
Then I reached 11th standard. In India, students are required to choose a "core stream" in addition to English or the local language when we reach this stage. I had always had a keen interest in STEM subjects, and I was confident in my abilities in science. The science stream includes mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics with an elective of our choice.
I was 16 and it was 2015; the school system in India had drastically changed to keep up with global standards. I wanted to take both mathematics and biology but the school objected, saying it would be too heavy a load for me and asked me to choose.
The following day, I walked up to the two side-by-side rooms, unsure about which course I would choose. I finally came to a decision and when I walked inside, I found myself in a class of 10 with only 2 girls (including me), and the teacher kept going on about the principle of mathematical induction.
I wasn’t really a big fan of maths at that time, nor was I very good at it. So why would I choose it? The reason to me was simple: I was bad at the subject and I wanted to become better at it. What is the point of learning something you already know? I always found that learning is most fruitful when what you’re learning is a challenge.
That is how I ended up taking maths and computer in my final year. After high school, I was on a completely different path than I had always planned. I had no idea how to code. I wasn’t tech savvy. In my first coding class, C++, I was completely lost and almost panicked. But sitting through two more classes, I realized that it wasn’t so hard and I could follow. The first time I coded to print “Hello World!” I was so excited.
There was this mysterious yet intriguing sense I felt discovering the world of technology. That same year, Global Scribes: Youth Uniting Nations (GSYUN)* came to my school. Our computer science teacher turned out to be the person in charge, and I was introduced to this amazing family GSYUN family, which has been life changing and a lot of fun! Reflecting on that time, I realize that the moment when I stepped outside my comfort zone was a defining moment in my life.
I believe everybody should have the experience of learning how technology works. Technology has become an integral part of our lifestyle, and it’s not going anywhere. I would love to be a part of discovering the endless possibilities technology can offer the world. Magic is the science we have not yet discovered, so never be afraid to learn about the unknown, even when it seems like nobody else is.
*Global Scribes is an EQUALS partner.
About the Author
Archana Yengkhom is a member of Global Scribes: Youth Uniting Nations and a third-year computer science and engineering student at the Christ (Deemed to Be) University in Bengaluru, India.
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