Today, we feature advice from Elija Amponsah from Trenton, NJ (Mercer County.) Elija is a transfer student from TCNJ, currently pursuing his master’s degree in computer science and mathematics at Rowan within the College of Science & Mathematics. Today he shares his story and some advice for students wanting to major or current students in computer science and mathematics.
Elija Amponsah is one of seven children. He’s the first one in his family to major in computer science and mathematics. “They still don’t know what computer science is. I told them ‘Put it this way, everything you guys use we build it, we give it life. Like your cellphone and the apps, you have someone like me, we have to write it. You’re a nurse the programs that you use in your field on your computer, someone like me has to write it. The computer is just the hardware part. You can have a computer, but if you have no software you can’t use it.’ And that’s what I tell them.”
What inspired Elija to major in computer science and mathematics was laziness. “If you talk to someone that knows about computer science or computer engineering, they will tell you that computers are really dumb. But someone who doesn’t know, like someone in a different field they will tell you that computers are really smart. Computers do things that we as humans can’t process in our brains, because if you tell me to count from one to infinity, I will get tired and bored. Computers can do it and faster. So, I figured why don’t I just learn how to do that and let them do the work that I don’t feel like doing.”
Advice from Elija:
- “Ask a lot of questions and work on your stuff. Most people think that when it’s Thursday or Friday it’s time to go hang out with friends and have fun. I say it’s either time to catch up or get ahead or learn something new. Someone who studies business I always ask them ‘What is your skill?’ or ‘What is your business?’ Because business is about selling and buying. So, if I can do that or if I can have a robot who can do that, why do I need you as a business major? So, you have to work on your skill. Learn how to do program, learn something! And ask questions, ask for help. People think that if you ask for help, you’re stupid. But I think that if you don’t ask for help, you’re stupid.”
- “Take risks and take the biggest ones. Where you even wake up with a nightmare that you might lose something, but you have nothing to lose. It’s much easier to get rejected by a girl than by big companies. Because the person who rejected you like the recruiter or the HR person, is not going to see you again and most likely they’re going to tell you, ‘This time isn’t the right time, apply again in six months.’ When you get rejected by a girl, she isn’t going to tell you come back in six months. And you’re going to see that girl again and most likely she will tell her friends ‘This guy tried talking to me and I said no.’ Companies don’t do that! So why don’t you take that risk and apply to that company? Just take risks.”
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Story and photography by:
Iridian Gonzalez, rising senior journalism major