Not too long ago, my best friend surprised me with a small, chunky notebook similar to the first one I had as a child that developed my love for notetaking and journaling. On the very first page, I scribbled two sayings that I’ve somewhat recently adopted as my adulthood mantras: “Start where you are,” and similarly, “Wherever you are, you’re in the right place to begin.” I love the applicability of these quotations toward my evolving appreciation for computer science and all that it entails.
I was unsure of what exactly I should expect ahead of my first attendance at Coding & Cocktails on Saturday, May 13. Alongside an improvement in my overall patience, I am learning to let go of predisposition while heading into a new experience or skillset, especially if it involves math or science instead of my natural strengths in the arts. I did know, though, that my participation in Coding & Cocktails was seemingly long overdue.
First, a little history is in order for why I am involved with Kansas City Women in Technology in the first place: A year ago, Alex Peak Turley, a college friend of mine for 10 years and the co-chair of KCWiT’s then-newly formed Marketing and Communications Committee, put a callout for committee members. I quickly volunteered for the committee because of its natural fit among both my long-standing and ever-evolving interests: I graduated in journalism and mass communications, and I was a professional newspaper reporter for five years, so I knew those skills would transfer well in profiling mentors and leadership on KCWiT’s blog. My husband also is a software engineer, and his passion and dedication to computer science has reignited my own interest in technology that began in childhood. Lastly, my interest in KCWiT has grown throughout the past year because of its 501 (c)(3), nonprofit organization status, and my current pursuit of a Master of Public Administration, with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The older I become, especially as I turned 30 a year-and-a-half ago, the more I am gravitating back toward the interests that held my loyal and unwavering devotion as a child. One of those childhood interests included spending hours alone at the computer, tinkering with word-command games or very elementary word processing programs on MS-DOS, and later, Windows 95. Although other participants and a solid core of helpful mentors were in attendance at May’s Introduction to Front-End Architecture, I also felt that same sense of independence and ability to try (and fail – and try again!) things on my own that I experienced as a 10 year old.
Part of attending continuing education of any kind is starting where you are, learning what you can in a moment, and building from there. Alongside studying Python, R, and HTML independently on Coursera, attending Coding & Cocktails does not have a specific end goal or finish date in mind; I simply want to continue to build these skillsets, and hopefully, mentor others at some point. I am starting where I am, with the understanding that it is the right place to begin.