One day, as a young child, while playing computer games, I asked myself what I thought any other kid my age would: “How can I make this myself and how can I make it better?”
I drew the characters in Paint, I recorded the effects and voices in Sound Recorder, but I did not know how to connect them. I learned QBasic, and then Visual Basic 3. I started to connect the dots. By third grade, my project was done – a fully-functional space-shooter. This made me realize that if I work hard enough, if I ask the right questions and learn the proper things, dreams can become reality. It was empowering. I made dozens of arcade games, before learning, in 5th grade, what an “algorithm” was. I then started working on more and more complicated projects: educational software, general-purpose software, and dynamic websites. Later, in high school, I combined all of these, and I built my own online courseware platform, which included a live streaming and source mixing application.
With these projects, I participated in numerous software and web development contests. At these, along with other programming, mathematics and physics competitions, I earned a total of over forty-two awards (county-level or higher), of which eight were national first prizes. Participating in these contests has given me ambition, has taught me perseverance, and has also helped me develop a “do your best no matter what” attitude.
I excelled in Computer Science, but the same curiosity that sparked my interest in it, also pushed me to leave my comfort zone and learn more about the world. This is why in high school I was careful never to get complacent and just study the subjects I was good at, but also to challenge myself, and learn how to engage with valuable subjects I had absolutely no previous experience with. I studied a plethora of subjects from Physics to World History, I tried to excel in thinking rather than rote memorization, and I tried to see the big picture wherever I could make interesting and intriguing connections.
More and more I found myself reaching the same fundamental questions: “What is truth?”, “What is knowledge?”, “How should one live one’s life?” and so on. To start tackling these questions, I decided to study Philosophy, which I found to be a natural partner to Computer Science. Computer Science tries to understand the world, to give it structure, and make it graspable. I found myself approaching Kant’s categorical imperative as a series of Boolean functions, trying to figure out Aquinas’ argument about love being at the origin of every action by including it in a dependency graph, and comparing Socrates’ attempts to abstract and ascend to more general concepts and understandings with my own experience as a programmer.
While studying, I continue to work on different projects. Currently I am working on a classical music platform and on ways of combatting inaccurate facts on the internet. I am also thinking about and planning to work on ways in which computers could aid philosophers – both as individual tools that can replace the classical pen and paper thinking process, and as networks that can enable thinkers from all over the world to connect, share and build ideas together.