Writing 01: Identity

I do not consider myself similar to what people imagine when they hear the words “computer programmer.” As was evident in the class, when people hear these words, they think of people locked in their rooms, trying to hack into someone’s computer or account of some sort. For me, computer science is something that I am very passionate about, but it is not the only thing that I am passionate about. I am a very social person, which may come as a surprise to some, who are used to seeing us always alone on our computers. However, I do manifest the stereotype that I am always on my computer, but that doesn’t change the fact that I actually like talking to people. This computer science identity makes a large part of who I am, but when you mix it in with the fact that I am a Latino and come from a poor neighborhood, it makes it hard to find a place where I fit in. There are not many poor students that go to college, and out of that chunk, not many of them are Latino, and out of the tiny chunk that are Latino, there are not too many that go into computer science. For this reason, it’s hard to find a place both at school and back home. However, I think this impacts how the world sees me because many people are fascinated. My family is fascinated that I am a computer scientist, and (some) people at the University are fascinated by where I come from. So, no total common ground at either end, but at least people are interested. I recognize that I am privileged by having a great household, which I think is very fundamental to success. However, what I’ve accomplished or gotten has been through pure hard work, dedication, and perseverance. So, I grew up underprivileged in that I did not necessarily have the resources that many people around the country had, but I did have one great privilege in that my parents and family were amazing. I emphasize this because many households are toxic, which impedes children from succeeding in society. The levels of privilege obviously matter to me, because someone who doesn’t work that hard can still go to a great university because of their resources, and someone who does work hard may not go to college at all because they lack resources. For example, I had a friend that had to work while in high school because things weren’t so good at home, which ended up making him tired at school and therefore he did not perform that great. So for me, being a Notre Dame Computer Science and Engineering graduate means carrying the torch for the people who come from places where I come from, but could not get to where I am because of the circumstances. It’s to show to the world that there are people out there who are capable. I may be the one graduating, but there are many people who deserve recognition as well.