For Starters

Posted by Kate Jewett Williams on July 16, 2018

“I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end.” Louisa May Alcott

When I was small I loved science and being outside. I loved catching toads in my backyard, playing with rocks, playing soccer and softball, but I really loved robots. I took apart almost every electronic toy I had to try and figure out how it worked. I did my science fair project on battery life, to figure out which brand of battery actually lasted longer. (It was Duracell, by the way, and you bet my brand loyalty was determined by what could power my build-your-own robot the longest.)

My family didn’t have a computer, but I really enjoyed using them in school. And as you might expect, being a girl who loved chasing toads and building robots did not always make for a very robust social life. I remember feeling alone and I think that in my subconscious somewhere I put away my love of chasing toads, collecting rocks, playing sports, and tinkering with my robot. I tried to fit in more with other girls my age and I tried to figure out what to do based on other’s expectations.

I went to undergrad and graduated as a music business major, and then went on to graduate school in Ethnomusicology thinking I would be a college professor. During graduate school, though, I was already starting to go back to doing the things that made me happy when I was younger. I started playing sports again, I let the rock collection and toad chasing go though.

But newly out of school I needed something to do. I didn’t want to be a college professor it turns out so I started by returning to the other avenues I had wanted to pursue before I went to graduate school. This led me to two decisions: One led to working for a local refugee resettlement agency, and another which led me to living in Liverpool, England for a year. In both these positions I was asked to do things with technology I had never done, including making a website, a blog, and designing emails. All of this I could do with Constant Contact, Wix, and Blogger without really knowing anything, but it felt a little confining. I could see the code that made my template, but I didn’t understand it, and I couldn’t change it to get what I wanted. I started taking tutorials like Codecademy and I found myself really enjoying building things, just like I had with my robots when I was young.

And so here I am. Learning to code and excited to see where it will take me.