When I was a first-year in college, I deeply admired an acquaintance who spoke fluent Chinese. How could someone be so talented? Why wasn't I that talented? And then it hit me: I could study Chinese, too.
Many people, myself included, are intimidated to learn new skills because we are afraid of making mistakes. Or perhaps we desire instant results. Or maybe we believe we don't have the intrinsic talent to succeed.
But five years, a dozen laoshis, and months in China and Taiwan later, I learned to speak Chinese at an advanced proficiency. The skill that seemed so unattainable simply required persistence.
That experience inspires me as I pursue a new goal: to improve my technical and design skills, as well as my knowledge of energy and technology policy. Eventually, I hope to identify a career path that links these skills with my graduate degree in international relations and economics, specializing in emerging markets.
I have always admired the kind of person who can build a website. Edit a video. Identify as a woman in STEM. And truly, I have been a little intimidated.
But maybe, with persistence, I can be that kind of person, too.