Before High School
I moved around a lot before high school. I actually skipped kindergarten becasue, and I remember this explicitly, I thought it was soooo boring. I attended Greystone Elementary School, the school across the street from me. Thanks to my mom pushing me like crazy I became really good at mental math.
I then went to Challenge Private School for 6th and 8th grade. For 7th grade, we randomly moved to Virginia but then came back because the weather was pretty shitty.
Leland High School
There were two things that I took with me from high school
The first thing was Biology. My sophomore year I took Biology Honors with Mrs. Sarkar. She was a great teacher and the class really got me interested in a subject for the first time. I think that the reason I liked it so much was because it was literally learning about how our own bodies worked and the notion of research was very exciting to me. I then took AP Biology with Mrs. Sarkar again and continued to love the subject. Because of how much I enjoyed it, I applied to only biology programs in college and had hopes and dreams of becoming a research professor in biology.
The second thing I got out of high school was debate. I did Policy debate, as part of the National Forensics League, and I can honestly say it was the most important part of high school. The manager of my school's speech and debate program, Mrs. Brasher, was an amazing leader and mentor. Our debate coaches, including Gene Chien, Edwin Lin, and Tom Meagher, were also awesome to work with. My parter Sunny Advani and I stuck through debate for the better part of 4 years along the other team in our year, and our closest friends, Gary Lin and Shreyas Kamat.
As a debater I because an extremely confident and well-practiced persuader. Additionally I did immense amount of research. But really, the most important thing that I got from debate was the confidence and belief that if I work hard at something, it will pay off. I spent most of my waking hours doing research and preparing for tournaments.
And it paid off. My partner and I finished 2nd in the State of California our Junior Year, 3rd our Senior Year, and 5th in the nation our Senior Year. Additionally, we qualified to the Tournament of Champions our Senior Year which was one of our biggest goals.
Carnegie Mellon University
I began my time at CMU as a biology major with aspirations to learn some Computer Science (mostly motivated by my software-engineering parents). My goal was to become a research professor in biology.
Because of those aspirations I took the introductory programming course during my first semester. I initially found it very challenging but then it came naturally to me and I really loved it. It was just really fun making games and having the ability to create at my fingertips.
On a whim I applied to become a TA for the course and, much to my surprise and delight, I got the position for my second semester. I continued following that path as well as taking more computer science and discrete math courses. After two more semesters, me being a sophomore at the time, I reaized that I liked my Computer Science courses much more than my Biology courses. With this much clear to me, I transfered to the School of Computer Science.
I am still interested in solving problems in biology but I also realize the versatility that CS offers me. The field of biology, and most fields for that matter, are quickly becoming computational. A computer scientist doesn't usually do CS for the sake of CS. It is all about taking the knowledge that I learn and applying it to the problems that I find interesting.
At this point I believe that I would like to try my hand in industry for some time and then eventually, after many years, become a teaching professor. However, unlike when I first came into college, the only thing I know for sure is that anything can happen in the future.