On Courage

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This is the first part of a two-part series.

  1. [On Courage)[http://katstam.com/on-courage/]
  2. [Take Courage)[http://katstam.com/take-courage/]

The Bad

I had no courage for many years of my life.

Early Childhood

I remember having a hapy childhood :). I was also extremely shy and one of the smartest kids in school. The way I see it is that I was good at cracking the code on how the education system worked. I had found the easy way to navigate my school years. Math had already revealed itself as my friend. I was being sent to math competitons across town to solve problems and bring pride to my school. I mainly brought pride to my parents. I was good at solving equations and problems at home and in class. The pressure of the competitions was too much for me. Usually my brian would stop being able to work out the solutions to the problems in front of me - and miraculously restart its function after the competitions were over. I did not pay much attention to this problem then. I was still an oblivious child.

In hindsight, it seems like I did not believe in myself. My thought, I remember now, sounded something like this - ‘Smart kids do maths and excell at competitions. What makes you think you are one of them and deserve this?’

High School

In Bulgaria we study crazy hard at 7th grade and need to pass country-wide exams to get accepted into the best high schools. Mine was, and still is, one of a kind in Bulgaria - and I am still extremely produ to call myself its alumni. It is the National School of Mathematics and Sciences. I competed with teenagers from all over the country to get accepted into it, and I did very well on the entry exam. My math teacher saw potential in me and started sending me to math competitions to represent our school. This is when I started failing miserably! I was good at math at class and completely terrible at it during competitions. I remember feeling ashamed of my poor results. Fast-forward 1 year in the future and I was removed from the competing team. I have never gone to another math competition since then.

In the meantime, I was part of our basketball team and I performed really well during the games. I did struggle collaborating with my team and passing the ball more. Still, this was a good lesson for me. I am all for collaboration now and I prefer to avoid agressive competing.

I think that being good at basketball and not performing good at math reinforced my negative self-talk that I was not good enough and I did not deserve to be chosen for something special.

I needed to choose what I would study at the university at the final year of high school. My cousin was already studying economics abroad. I vividly remember him saying - ‘Why computer science? It is not for girls. Go do some social sciences’. I was taken aback as I was neither was told nor was raised in an enviroment which allowed gender to be a disciminatory factor for choosing your future work field. I chose computer science - and now I am glad I did.


Early Career Development

I have had enough

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