This is me



This is me, Esther.

When I first started to study Computer Science at the University of Basel, the people there started to call me Esthi. So far no one had ever called me Esthi.

I was female, I was one of the youngest students in my year and for sure one of the shortest.
I always shared my solutions with all the other students. When people asked for help, I was the first to answer. I tried to connect to as many other students as possible.

I was Esthi. Everybody knew Esthi. Except me.

Back in high school I was mediocrity personified. My grades were fine, never good but never too bad. I was happy but never too happy. I was sad but never too sad. I was quiet but never quiet enough and I was loud but never loud enough.

Esther never was a doer.
But Esthi was.

What most of the people around me did not know was that I was afraid. Constantly. I was – and still am – afraid of not being good enough, afraid of failing.

For the first time I no longer wanted to be mediocre. I wanted to be good, even great at what I do. I wanted to be a successful woman in science.

Some people call it haughty. Some call it nerdy.
I call it fear.

Whenever I pictured myself in the future, applying for a job in computer science, the same scenario replays itself in my mind’s eye.

What if I am the only female applicant?
What if I actually get the job?
What if my gender is my only qualification?
What if my job is just to fulfill a quota?

This is what I’m afraid of.
This fear is fueling me. It forces me to give my very best.

I don’t want to be mediocre. I want to be great.
I want to be hired for my skills, not for my gender.
I want to be hired for my knowledge, not for a quota.

I am female, I am one of the youngest students in my year and still one of the shortest.
I successfully completed half of my Bachelor’s degree, programmed a great game as part of a power group consisting of four awesome women, and now, just one year later, I myself am part of the tutor team for this lecture.
I study computer science and will continue to do so, because despite all fear, I love what I do.

This is me,


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