I'll never forget my dad taking me to Stanford to look at the math proofs the PhD students there had published. The logic puzzles he'd tell me every night. He was an astrophysicist, and would often to take me to his lab to check out what they were working on.
I participated in mathematics competitions from a very young age. I thought about math a lot, dreamed up different ways to visualize things and different puzzles to solve. I absolutely loved math.
My dad would give me lectures in the car about how I could do anything I wanted to, and to never to let anyone tell me otherwise.
It's been both a bright year and a dark year in many ways. Dark because I've been hurt a lot during the past decade of going to college and advancing my career in mathematics and computer science.
I somehow managed to break my brain enough with stress that on the bad days-- even now-- just opening a text file and looking at code can be a challenge to get through.
In my dark moments this past year (and really, for the past 10+ years), I've had friends shake me and say, "Stephanie, why are you forcing yourself to deal with this trauma, why you even bothering to do math and computer science? You're a really good businessperson, a great writer, you don't need to put yourself through the hell that can be other people in computer science."
I do it because if I had millions of dollars and didn't need money, I'd still code.
I do it because math gives me so much joy.
Math is beautiful.
Collaborating with others to bring this beauty to life and organize our world into systems and solve real problems with that makes me feel alive.
Bringing math to life is my art. It's my inspiration.
I'll get over this stress, eventually it'll be gone completely, and I'll use those business skills I have to make it so this thing I love in this world is never damaged like this again.