TechTogether
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TechTogether

How I Gained Confidence From TechTogether PreHacks

Have you ever felt like no matter how much you try, you’ll never be good enough to get into your dream college or get your dream job? I’m Alicia, or some call me Joy, and my dream is to one day go to UC Berkeley and major in computer science. After attending TechTogether PreHacks, I finally felt like my dream could become a reality.

Before PreHacks, I had attended a few computer science workshops, but never a hackathon. To be honest, those workshops made me doubt my abilities. I would always compare my work to everyone else and couldn’t stop. No matter what, I felt like everyone was just miles ahead of me. I began to feel my dream of going to Berkeley and majoring in computer science crumble. I was honestly thinking about taking a break from computer science.

Then, I saw an advertisement for PreHacks, “Redefine the hacker stereotype” in bold letters. It immediately caught my attention and I decided my break could wait. While the gender gap in tech is vast, another issue that often goes unaddressed are racial inequities. While I see a lot of Asian folks in computer science, the majority of those folks are East Asian, and very few are Southeast Asian or Pacific Islander. I haven’t seen many people with darker skin in computer science. It took me no time to sign up and prepare myself for what seemed like my last time in computer science for a while.

I was a bit worried about attending PreHacks; I thought it was going to be like the other workshops I attended. However, my worry quickly melted away when I joined the Discord. Just looking at the server, I knew this was going to be a good environment. There were many chats for different interests with a little emoji next to each of them. I loved looking at everyone’s work in the artist loft. I could just tell from looking at all of the messages, this wasn’t just a good environment, but also had nice people.

When it was finally time for PreHacks, the schedule wasn’t just about computer science, but also bonding and getting to know each other. There was time for fun drawing games like Gartic phone and I saw people even formed Hackathon teams. Also, it was fun to learn more about web development and JavaScript. My favorite part was at the end though, “The Guide to Landing a High School internship workshop.”

I’m a rising junior in high school and college isn’t that far away for me. For a while, I’ve been thinking about getting an internship to help prepare myself for college and the world. Ideally, I wanted a computer science internship but didn’t think I was capable. It was nice to hear people talk about internships and their experiences. I also didn’t realize how many cool computer science internships there were, like the ones at NASA. In the end, I was excited about the possibility of getting an internship and contributing to a big project.

Moreover, hearing TechTogether talk about college and what colleges look for, helped a lot. I always felt like colleges have these impossible standards of ‘a straight-A student who has no free time since they’re always busy being a leader and involved with school and community.’ It was nice to hear that colleges understand you have life and that you can be successful without living up to those standards. Plus, hearing what college admissions look for in a college essay, was invaluable information. The essay doesn’t have to be some crazy, creative masterpiece, but genuine.

PreHacks didn’t just teach me about computer science, but confidence. It helped me stop stressing about the future and college. I started to believe again that I can major in computer science — even if I don’t get into Berkeley or a fancy college. I’m not just saying this: thanks to PreHacks, I decided to continue my journey with computer science. I already signed up for TechTogether Boston 2021 and 2021 Detroit Fashion + Tech Hackathon: Virtual Hack Weekend.

Interested in attending a hackathon and getting access to more articles like this one? Subscribe to TechTogether’s bi-weekly newsletter. 💡

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