“Life happens, and you can’t let a few stumbles get in your way.” – Jessica Slaughter
Tell us a little about yourself along with a fun fact:
Hey there! My name is Jessica and I’m a third-year Computer Engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin. I love exploring the intersection of tech and creativity, from graphic design to front-end development. I’m also super passionate about the local startup scene in Austin, and am currently an organizer for 3 Day Startup Austin!
A fun fact about me is that I’ve been running a lifestyle blog for over two years! I started it in high school as a way to teach myself HTML and CSS, never imagining that anything would actually come of it. Over the past few months though it’s basically become a part-time job, so I get to do what I love and make some $$$ from my bedroom!
What # would define your life journey?
I’m a firm believer in making your personal health a priority over everything else. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed with school work, I set out a few hours of me-time to relax, eat some delicious food, and not think about whatever is stressing me out. When I get back to my desk, I’m in a much better mindset and feel refreshed!
Pinterest! My blog wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as it is today without the power of Pinterest. I even use a scheduling tool because of how many pins I post on a daily basis! Of course, I also love it for non-blogging reasons, like making wish lists and collecting all the recipes I’ll (hopefully) make someday.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
I couldn’t pick just one person, but I’m inspired everyday by the amazing women in tech that I follow on Twitter! Most of them are a few years older and further in their careers than I am, so I love following their paths into the industry and learning about potential paths for myself. They’re constantly posting about the challenges they face and giving life-tips for women still in college, and I’ve honestly learned more about finding an internship and being successful from them than any class I’ve taken! If you’re still in college, I’d definitely recommend following some alumni from your department to see where they are now!
Technical/life challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
When I chose to major in Electrical and Computer Engineering, I had no idea what to expect going in. I knew I wanted to be involved in tech, but after a few months in my major I realized I absolutely hated anything related to circuits (aka half of my major). I couldn’t switch to CS because of some over-acceptance issues at my school, so I was basically stuck taking classes I had no interest in. For a while I thought this would affect my career path, and that I wouldn’t be able to get a job I wanted because I wasn’t in CS, but after talking to a lot of recruiters and other ECE majors in a similar situation, I realized I was totally wrong.
While I still have to take EE classes, I’ve started joining a lot of student-run clubs that focus on teaching subjects like mobile development and graphic design. I was amazed at how much time these students devote to helping others, and I’ve been able to add a few new skills to my resume because of them! I’ve also started going to Women in CS events, and being surrounded by women with the same interests as me has been a total confidence booster.
I would love to have a job that allows me to be creative and help people through my work, while still being involved in the development process. Right now that’s looking like a program or product management role, but I’m still exploring what opportunities are out there!
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Life happens, and you can’t let a few stumbles get in your way. So you failed a test, or didn’t do so hot on a project, or didn’t get that interview. It’s in the past, and all you can do is learn from it and do better next time!