This article was written by Microsoft Ignite 2020 Humans of IT student ambassador Danielle Riles, a Computer Information Systems senior from Grambling State University. This is the first article in a series featuring this year's student ambassadors. Danielle shares about ways you can start a new road and create new goals for yourself whenever you feel like you have reached the end of the road? After all, change is inevitable but we must be willing to accept it.
My dream since fifth grade was to become a successful veterinarian. When I initially started my college career, I studied pre-veterinary medicine at Louisiana Tech University. I planned on furthering my education and attending veterinary medicine school at Louisiana State University because of their amazing veterinary program. Upon arrival to Louisiana Tech University, I was both excited for my new journey and determined to “beat the odds” and successfully graduate.
However, after participating in my first two quarters, I discovered my course of study was not at all what I imagined. I imagined studying pre-veterinary would cover aquatic animals, wild animals, domestic animals, and zoology. My dream was to work at a zoo. My professor informed me that from freshman year until senior year we would instead cover poultry science, equine science, beef production, agriculture, and the growth of crops. After my professor informed me that the pre-veterinary program only covered farm animals, I started to reconsider my decision. I realized I was unhappy and undecided about further studying pre-veterinary medicine at Louisiana Tech. I realized that the field was either not right for me, or the environment of the institution wasn't.
After the first year I had to make a decision. My decision was to stop school all together by taking a break or to start over. In 2017, after Winter quarter, I decided to sit out of college. I put all my focus into my job at Citi Trends, a fashion retail company. In Fall 2018, I returned to school because I had a mission to accomplish. I choose to start over at the Grambling State University (GSU). When I started at GSU, I was hesitant to immediately declare a major because of my previous negative experience.
While in high school, I was a part of a program called New Tech @ Ruston. Being a part of this program ultimately led to my love for computers. New Tech’s focus was computer-group based learning. At the start of freshman year, we learned how to build and organize websites, make movies, design brochures, flyers and most importantly, learn how to use and understand our laptops. I was never into computers before entering the program but when I left, I became deeply interested in the field of technology. I thank New Tech for giving me the background in technology which led to me finally declaring my Computer Information Systems major at Grambling State University.
(New Tech @ Ruston Student Advisory Board at El Dorado High School.)
I am now a Computer Information Systems Major and have big plans for the future, even though I may not know all of them yet. After I had chosen to pursue a major in Computer Information System, my next goal was to get my priorities in line. I knew I needed to focus because I had not been as tech savvy as I was after graduating high school in 2016. I started to get involved and attended all of the job fairs to see what was out there in the world of technology. By the grace of God, and one special Grambling Alumni who is my forever-mentor Mr. Kevin Griffen, I landed an internship with a cybersecurity company. After my internship ended, I not only had experience with programming with languages like C++ and Java, but I was also skilled in field of cyber security. With the skills I am building, I hope to someday become a software developer or an information analyst. If I were to continue my career in cybersecurity, I would like to learn more about artificial intelligence as well.
While my professional career is just getting started, I am pleased to say I can see the growth in myself as this is a field I am truly confident and passionate about. I actually enjoy attending classes and learning new skills that I know for sure will benefit me in the future. As a Microsoft Humans of IT Student Ambassador, I hope to not only learn from my mentor Mr. Marc, but also to learn from the many bright students from various HBCUs about their own experiences in the working environment. While it can be a wild journey navigating through life and starting a professional career after college, having these connections with other students and industry professionals is setting me on a path to success that I am eager to explore.
Always remember - anything is possible when you set goals for yourself and accomplish them!
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