Academic Research / Education

Studying Computer Science Taught Me How to Understand Myself

After years of working on a PhD, I’ve realized that my real motivation to go into Computer Science was to understand myself.

As a child, I always struggled to answer the question, “how are you?” There was no quick way to capture how I was. Things seemed more black and white for other people than for me. Where I’d be saying things like, “why couldn’t they both be true?” People would be saying things like, “girl, it’s not that deep.” To everyone else, common sense was a good enough reason for most things I questioned.

Take for example, why we have high school crushes. It’s just what happens, right? Well, that wasn’t good enough, so, at 14 yrs old, I used MS Paint to make my point.


Here’s my economics of luv from my 14-year-old self.

From this image, we know that…

  • For me, it WAS that deep

  • I was a very complicated little girl

  • Clearly, I was meant to spend part of my life studying Artificial Intelligence

So, ever since I could remember I wanted to make video games. Virtual worlds enabled complexity that was more satisfying. If I could represent it for a computer, then I could make it as complex or as simple as I wanted. It was a medium where different choices were valid. Which in my work now, I call meaningful variations.

My stories were often more complicated than I was able to express, partly because my reality didn’t adhere to “common sense” as well as the people around me. Having always felt out of place, the most valuable thing I acquired in my studies was a vocabulary to understand myself. At the end of the day, I’m really just telling my own story by reverse engineering my life experiences.

2 thoughts on “Studying Computer Science Taught Me How to Understand Myself

  1. So on the one side we have Neutrality, but on the other we have a two sided coin- you might Like someone, but also might Hate them! I knew a funny sailor who once said “Hate is love.” I sort of understand- it takes a good charge of energy to hate someone or love them. The opposite (of the trinary state?) is apathy, or neutrality. Interesting to see your thoughts put into pictograms!

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