inspiration · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Amanda Kobiolka

“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Mark Twain

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hello! My name is Amanda Kobiolka, I’m originally from Buffalo, NY. Right now I’m in my senior year at Binghamton University studying computer science, and I plan to graduate in the spring of 2017. I compete on our women’s cross-country and track teams, I’m a peer advisor for students in the engineering program, and I help run our school’s Women in Technology club. A fun fact about me is that I have no sense of smell – it’s called anosmia, and it has its pros and cons.

What # would define your life journey?

Favorite website / app:
I’ve become a big fan of using Reddit over the last few years, whether I’m looking for something informative or just need a laugh.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Can I choose a couple? Chris and Heidi Powell are considered “transformation specialists,” you may have seen them on the show Extreme Weightloss. They both overcame several personal struggles to become the successful personal trainers they are now, and they use those experiences to help others achieve their goals of physical and mental well-being. Chris had actually promised himself that he will have a positive impact on one million lives, and so far he is well on his way. The Powell’s selflessness and commitment to others are traits I hope to emulate as well as they do one day.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Greatest, by Sia. I’ve played it at least 4 times in the last hour… not only are the lyrics inspirational and motivating, but the music video that accompanies the song adds a whole other layer of depth and emotion that brings a lot of energy to the viewer.

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
One thing I struggled with when I came to college was breaking down the preconceptions I had about what my life ‘should’ be. I should have a high GPA, the perfect internship, be as involved on campus as possible, run fast races…while all of those are admirable goals, I kind of lost myself in trying to live up to what I thought ‘success’ was. I didn’t give myself enough credit for the accomplishments I had achieved, either, so much so that a friend of mine brought up ‘imposter syndrome’ to me.  For those who are unfamiliar with the term, ‘imposter syndrome’ refers to the belief that you’re somehow perpetrating you know more than you do, or are more successful than you are. It turns out this is actually a pretty prevalent feeling in the computer science field, and I think it should be talked about more openly. For me, overcoming those feelings involved acknowledging that success comes in many forms, and means little if it doesn’t bring you a sense of inner satisfaction. It was a freeing realization that has made each day more enjoyable.

Ideal Job:
I have a passion for health & wellness, and I would love to find a job where I can integrate that field with technology. (Kind of a broad statement, I know). I’m interested in working on products and applications that track workout data, like FitBit or MapMyRun.  Since running and sports are a large part of my background, I would find a lot of meaning in using my software skills to bring a similar fitness experience to someone else. A lot can change in 10 years, though – for now I’m just eager to keep learning all I can!

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Mark Twain once noted that, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and that quote has stuck with me over the years. There will always be someone smarter, faster, or farther ahead than you are, but who cares! If you’re paying attention to what someone else is doing, then you’ve taken your eyes off your own goals.  Nothing is more empowering than focusing on yourself and your own development, and nothing will bring you more fulfillment. Someone once told me to “Say yes to the adventure,” and my biggest hope is for every woman to feel comfortable saying yes to her adventure. Just do you, ladies 🙂

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