#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Beleicia Bullock

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Beleicia Bullock and I am currently a sophomore at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, where I major in computer science. This fall, I will be joining the Residential Life team as a house proctor and the admissions office as a Diversity Intern. In addition to that, I am also involved in Bowdoin Women in Computer Science and the African-American Society. Despite the small town setting of Bowdoin, I am a city girl at heart. I grew up in Washington, D.C and I am always ready to represent my city!

Fun Fact: I am in love with Timberland boots! Growing up in DC, you always see people with Tims, so it definitely becomes part of your identity. My favorite pair of Tims are light pink with a light grey sole. They are great for running to and from classes in unpredictable weather.

What # would define your life journey?

“If you are going through hell, keep going.” This is by far my favorite inspirational quote. I think it applies to so many situations and it keeps you grounded and focus. Particularly for me, STEM-related subjects do not come easily for me – I grew up as a humanities girl. I loved writing short stories, essays, plays and poetry. A lot of people outside of my family were utterly shocked when I told them that I was going to major in computer science.

And in all honesty, it surprised me too. I liked math and science in high school, but I wasn’t particularly good at it. Furthermore, I absolutely hated computer science when I was first introduced to it. Yet, my mom enrolled me in the High School Computer Competition and my perspective started to change. Yes, I still found computer science difficult, but it seemed more like a complicated puzzle instead of a scary monster.

Fast forward to college and I still struggle in my classes. I have to put in twice the work and effort to understand concepts that my classmates seem to get instantly. I literally spent my first semester in office hours, trying to make sense of my programming labs.

Each step of this journey has been hellacious and tough. Yet, I know that if I keep going (and pray a lot!), I can make progress. After all, if it wasn’t hard, would it be worth it?

Favorite website / app:
This is a tough one! I am a techie at heart, so I fall in love with new apps and websites each day. Currently, I am in love Elevate. It is this beautiful brain-training app that has dozens of games to help your memory, math, writing and reading skills. I have had this app for a while, but I have recently started using it more to help clear my mind. The games are fun and they actually do improve your skills.
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Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My mom. It’s cliche, I know, but mom is a queen. She is by far the most inspiring person I have ever met and it has been such a blessing to be her daughter. She makes me laugh, supports me in my wildest endeavors and corrects me when I am wrong (I never thought I would appreciate this, but I do now that I am a little older). I can’t even begin to summarize the all of knowledge that she has imparted. Yet, if she had 10 commandments they would be the following:

  1. Put God first.
  2. Love people and treat them the way you want to be treated.
  3. Don’t count yourself out – ever.
  4. Work ethic trumps all.
  5. Forgive yourself and others.
  6. Be brave and willing to be different.
  7. Always stay gracious, best revenge is your degree.
  8. You only fail if you don’t learn from your mistakes.
  9. There are only 2 things you have to do alone life – come into this world and leave. Everywhere else in between you have the option to walk alone or let people help you.
  10. Give back because so much has been given to you.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Controlla by Drake (Actually, any Drake song makes me want to dance!)

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I completed my first technical internship this summer(!!!) and to say the least it was an amazing learning experience. During my last week, I had to start integrating and testing my project. All of a sudden, the one file that I needed started to generate a million different errors and I was trying my best to debug the code. Something important to note here is that I am incredibly independent. I love working on teams and with other interns, but I like to fix my own mistakes. Yet, two hours into the debugging process, I realized that I was just being stubborn by not asking for help. So, I pinged my mentor and we proceeded to spend the next several hours debugging my program and fixing the errors. Now, this isn’t the most exciting or dramatic story. However, I think it serves as a constant reminder to me and others that asking for help doesn’t negate your intelligence, your work,  and your expertise. It only builds upon it. In the worst case scenario, you have someone keeping you company for several hours!

Ideal Job:
I don’t think I can even imagine myself at 28. That seems so far off! As of right now, I have no plans beyond graduate school. My only goal now is to learn and soak up as much knowledge and  experience as I can. If anything, I hope to see a stronger and more confident version of myself. I want to break barriers both small and large. I want to give back to the communities that have nurtured me. I want to travel a lot and hopefully speak a couple more languages. In terms of an ideal job, I hope to be in a career that challenges me daily, provides ample learning opportunities, and allows me to bond with those around me.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Every four years, I wait in anticipation for the Olympics – those two weeks are my slice of heaven. I grew up watching with my mom and now I continue to carry on that tradition with my friends and family. By far, my favorite Olympic sport has to be gymnastics. It is simply mesmerizing to watch gymnasts twisting, flipping and flying through the air. However, sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life. It seems silly, but here I am watching these extraordinary women, who are my age, fulfilling their dreams and doing something that only a handful of people in the world can even attempt.

While I am sure millions of other spectators experience the same feeling, it is important to understand how unhealthy this can be. You can’t live someone else’s dream. As much as I love gymnastics, I know that it is not my purpose in life – it isn’t my dream. In all honesty, I can’t tell you what my dream is, but it is worth taking the journey to find out. Reigning in life means chasing your dreams and cheering on others while they chase theirs.

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