Curiosity, Perseverance, and the Internship

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My computer crashed for the 6th time in a week. I had accidentally created an infinite loop in Python, and my glitchy four-year-old laptop could not handle the overload of data. I sighed and looked over at my coworker, Sophia--a college student, but she was busy typing her computer code faster than I could comprehend.

In that moment, I thought to myself: Why am I here?

It was summer vacation; I was not receiving any form of salary; my commute was over 2 hours one-way and consisted of 5 transfers on public transportation. Earlier that summer, I spent countless hours searching for an internship, and when I secured one with an Astrophysics professor at Shanghai JiaoTong University, I was beyond ecstatic. My task was to develop a program that detected errors in images of galaxies, but more importantly I was given the opportunity to develop my passion for Astronomy while contributing to research in the field. Yet here I was, feeling like a failure in comparison to Sophia, who was far more experienced in Python. In that moment, I heard my mother’s voice telling me to persevere, that quitting was an acceptance of failure. I also heard my father’s voice urging me to boldly overcome obstacles. This was just another puzzle, and I had...

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