This past year was my first year at UC. This was a rather large transition; I lived in a dorm on campus and started taking college classes. I went to Lakota West fore high school before I came to UC. Comparatively, high school was extremely restrictive and full of people less inspired to learn than college. I realize why this is, although, the experience of college for me is much more inviting than that of high school.

The social experience of living in a dorm was very different than what I was used to. I meet a new friends during my experience in the dorm. He was also interested in Computer Science. Talking to him and other interested students helped introduce me to how other people see my area of study and what to expect looking forward. In high school I was mostly the odd man out in high school as computer science was not popular to most of my peers but I found a real sense of community in the engineering environment at UC.

During my first year, I joined ACM (Association for Computing Machinery), the student computer science organization. This club introduced me more fully to the computer science student community at UC. While at the meetings, I was able to meet many other students who were also interested in Computer Science. This club was one of my best experiences my first year and I decided to become involved by helping organize Revolution UC during the Spring. This club also allowed me to make my first self designed experience.

In addition to joining ACM, I joined ACM, Women’s Chapter (ACM-W) which focuses on female student involvement in Computer Science at UC. This organization also focuses on community service. I took the chance to reflect on this experience as part of the University Honors Program and made a self designed experience. I used my time to give back to the community and help high school students learn computer science. The at the high school instructor, Ms. Grasso was very thankful for my help and some of the students were inspired by my knowledge in computer science and my commitment to help them. This was a very rewarding experience and reflecting on my volunteer work has helped me grow as a person and learn more about mentoring and working in groups. I presented my experience at an ACM-W meeting after I had finished and I hope that my experience inspires others in the group to do more. Through my experience at UC I have grown to learn that difficulty is an invitation, a chance to grow as a person and this adversity should be approached with open arms. Not everyone will be as open to challenge and I must accept that, I cannot change how my peers approach problems, I can only adapt how I interact with these other students and use this to improve my own experience and hopefully leave a positive impression to those around me. I hope to take this with me as a move forward in my college career.

One piece of advice I will always hold with me is “One life is too short to do everything” - Massimo Vignelli. As I continue to get older and try new challenges, this advice becomes more and more relevant and I can truly understand its importance.