A cartoon of a woman studying

My name is Ines, I am 17 and currently in Year 13.  

I study politics, computer science, and mathematics, and my favourite varies each week. In politics, I enjoy studying and learning about political ideas and concepts, especially feminism! I also really like the feeling of success when I solve a complicated mathematical problem right, or when my program runs for the first time. 

Almost everyone in my computing class does maths, but nobody in my year does computing and politics. Only two other students do politics and maths. Mixing humanities and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is not incredibly uncommon, but I still get confused looks whenever I tell someone my subject choices.  

In my primary school there was a computing extracurricular activity, that I did from 6 years old until I finished school. From then, I just kept choosing it, for my Year 9 early options, to GCSE, to A level, and now as a university course! I never had any specific inspirations, I just knew that I really enjoyed programming, and I was not going to let myself be driven out of it.  

I recently finished the coursework required for my Computing A level. I created a booking system for a hotel. It was pretty hard, but I managed to learn, through many YouTube videos and hours on stack overflow, many different skills that I could not have even fathomed a year ago.  

I chose to apply to a university in the the UK because I like the way the courses are structured. I really like the fact that it is possible to choose from niche modules in later years, but the foundation is set out first. I also really enjoy the London atmosphere and would love to be a student here. 

It is accepted that computer science is the future, for better or worse. Cash is being replaced with cards, cashiers with self-checkouts, and so on. There is not a single area of life that has not been impacted by technology, and that will not continue to be. 

I enjoy coding but have not really settled on a specific area. In university, I would like to focus on AI and learn more about it. I would like to do a masters, but I am not sure of the program yet. Hopefully, I will have the chance to this abroad, to experience a different university life. Having a specific goal really helps me stay motivated. Right now, it is reaching my predicted grades so I can get into my top university choice. 

I attended a couple of the Girls in Tech courses run by Queen Mary. In one, we were taught about HTML and C#, and the other one was a discussion between different women in Tech industries found them interesting and they made me feel scared of the computer science environment.  

Outside school, I take guitar lessons and really enjoy listening to various kinds of music. I also tutor maths and bake a lot. 

My Computer Science class is 17 boys and 2 girls, which can be very overwhelming at times. Sometimes it can feel like we are ‘other’ in a class where the teacher enables dubious conversations on women. However, I really do like Computing and that love, and my stubbornness outweighs the negative feelings. If not you who, and if not when? 

Perspectives from a prospective CS student