From Chemical Elements to HTML Elements
I’ve always had trouble expressing my thoughts and feelings through words. But here goes.
I had always been a quiet child growing up. At every parent-teacher meeting, the teacher would tell my parents that I was a shy or quiet student who should have a little more self confidence. Mind you, I had to do the translating most of the time too as my parents were immigrants and didn’t have post-secondary education. I never really grew out of being the quiet one nor being my parents’ translator.
I sometimes think I’m lucky that I was able to make friends for a quiet and shy kid who was socially awkward. I was also lucky when I applied to a dozen universities and was rejected from all of them except one. I will always be grateful to my parents for working so hard all those years doing many menial jobs to pay for me and my sister through university. I also feel lucky that I was able to graduate with a bachelors of science at the time when I thought was impossible. Then, I got lucky when I got hired after graduating with only a handful of interviews and got a job as a chemist at Apotex, one of Canada’s biggest generic pharmaceutical companies. I felt lucky because not everyone is able to get a job in their field of study after graduating. But after a while, I realized that many of these “lucky” events were actually just small choices or decisions that I had made that shaped who I am now and led me down this path in my life; allowing me to be more confident by taking these small steps.
After working a few years at Apotex and then a year and a half at Estee Lauder, I realized I hadn’t applied much of what I had learnt during university and that I had mostly forgotten the things I had studied for 5 years of my life. What fascinated me about chemistry was that everything was built from elements and molecules and their interactions with each other. That fascination and passion for chemistry sort of went away. I realized I needed to do something that was structured and had logic, and recalled my past coding experiences I had in high school and university. I found parallels between coding and chemistry. That was when I decided to pursue a career change into tech. I was looking at web development bootcamps online when I came across Juno College. A career success specialist reached out to me and gave me suggestions after I had told him why I was interested in web development. I took the free web development workshop and really liked it. So, I enrolled into the part-time introduction to web development at Juno College while working night shift full-time. Initially, I didn’t tell my family that I was about to quit my full-time job as a chemist to pursue a career in web development but why did I need to hide it? So, I told my family and unsurprisingly they were fully supportive of my decision. Although my parents will never really understand what working as a chemist or a web developer will be like I will be able to at least show them websites or applications I have been able to create.
I’ve often wondered how people set goals for themselves or how they were so ambitious that allowed them to be successful. Whether I can be an ambitious person or someone who could just strike up a conversation with a stranger, these were things I never thought I needed for me to succeed. I’ve often times thought about the thought experiment “The Ship of Theseus” and whether I’d be the same person if I had completely changed the way I interacted with people. The answer I found for myself was that everyone has their own fundamental beliefs and values which make them who they are no matter what experiences that change them. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So as a quiet, shy guy who sometimes lacks self-confidence, I will learn to be confident through making mistakes, embracing change, and building myself up from one HTML element at a time.
Thank you for reading.