Throughout my life, I have had people tell me that I was not good or smart enough to achieve goals I had set for myself. At those specific times, I remember feeling uneasy about who I was supposed to be and what I was meant to do. A specific memory that sticks out took place at the end of my junior year of high school. I wanted to take an introduction to computer programming class during my senior year. First, I had to get a waiver signed by the teacher who instructed the class. She was already my current teacher in the Honors Algebra II course I had almost completed, so I did not think there would be a problem. She had spent the entirety of the year promoting women in STEM and recruiting females to take this course. However, when I asked her to sign my form, she refused, saying I could not take the course. Why? Because I was not doing well in the Algebra II course. What was her definition of not doing well? I had the equivalent of a B once the course was weighted… Also, the programming class did not use advanced algebra from what I found out by students who later took the course.
At the time I remember being annoyed and upset, but since I did not know that the course was actually going to be easier and I would have been fine, I did not fight her decision. Looking back I wish I had. Once I went to college, I had to take two programming courses and having a background in programming would have made my experience a bit easier. Every now and again I am tempted to email her saying how wrong that was of her to do discourage females from even trying something. Why? Because when I took those programming courses, I ended both with A’s, after learning how to program video games and incorporate databases into numerous programs. I had surpassed anything she would have taught me. Yet, I still remember feeling so unsure of myself in the courses because of the lack of faith she had in me.
Incidents like this one push me forward and have taught me to persevere. Had I listened to the one person who did not believe in my abilities versus the many that did, I would not be two classes away from graduating with an IT degree. Thankfully, we live in a world that is constantly evolving and mindsets that women cannot achieve such heights are fading, slowly, but it is happening all around us. The Girl Scouts are now learning how to code and if that is not the coolest thing ever, I do not know what is. The opportunities that women have ahead of them to go further than ever before are numerous. The opportunities to grow as leaders in organizations, companies, and in technology are going to keep increasing the more that we contribute to the educational and intellectual growth of young women and girls as they grow up.
As females, we also need to be encouraging other females. Building their confidence up and teaching them to stand on their own two feet. The world needs more female leaders, influencers, motivational speakers, and people encouraging us to get the ball rolling. We need educators in the schools who teach us how to think, not what to think and allow us to step out of comfort zones so we can truly figure out the right path for us. I know I am not the only female who has been discouraged from doing something because someone else thought they could not do it and I will definitely not be the last. However, we can begin to prevent future generations from having this happen to them. Step one, encourage your best friend. Step two, encourage your mother. Step three, conquer the world.