My mom was always interested in new technology. She bought a Tandy Sensation back in the early 90’s and I remember going through the instruction booklet of commands to start up new programs. I had to open the command prompt and type in instructions for the computer to execute! It was my first introduction to programming.

I fell in love with playing computer games, recording .wav files of The X-Files TV show clips and using them for various sounds on the computer, and most of all America Online! Being able to connect with people all over the country in an instant, at any time of day or night, was exhilarating.

As a first-generation college student, I didn’t have much direction. I leaned into what I was “good” at instead of what truly interested me. I double-majored in Journalism and Sociology with a minor in Arabic lanugage.

After traveling with my friend to her home country, Thailand, I decided that I would study abroad for my junior year. Since I’m half Lebanese I looked at opportunities in the Middle East. I decided on Cairo, Egypt for one semester.

I bought a one-way plane ticket to Cairo, and as the first half of the school year came to an end, I decided I didn’t want to leave. So, I extended my stay and stayed throughout the entire year. I fell in love with Eygpt, and did more travling than studying. I traveled to Lebanon to visit my extended family, to Syria, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emerates (my cousins lived there at the time) and Oman (twice!).

Once I got the travel bug, I knew I couldn’t stay in a tiny Massachusetts town any longer.

After graduating I drove cross-country in the front seat of a UHaul to Oakland, California. Oakland felt like home the minute I arrived, and I ended up living there for 11 years. I worked in journalism for a few years, and then went into the medical field for 6 years. During my time in the medical field, I did volunteer work as an EMT in Xela, Guatemala and became fuent in Spanish.

Being immersed in San Francisco in the early-to-mid 2000’s, it was impossible not to see tech booming all around me. I had an itch to understand simply how to build a website. I remembered how to use Flash and Dreamweaver from a decade ago - but I had no idea what modern web development tools were.

In 2015 I attended General Assembly’s part-time JavaScript course while working. I built a web-based Sudoku game in HTML, CSS and JavaScript and decided I wanted more. I enrolled in their full-time coding bootcamp in 2016 and officially retired from the medical field. I’ve been working as a software developer ever since.

I’ve also consistently fed my travel bug - I’ve driven cross-country four times! I just visited the beautiful island of Cuba. I’m thankful that this line of work affords me the ability and time to be able to travel to the places I’ve always dreamed of traveling to, while doing work that I find intellecutally fulfilling.

I hope you’ve gotten something out of my personal story, and I hope it inspires you to write one of your own.

Happy coding!


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