#WomeninSTEM · #WomeninTech · inspiration

Women Who Reign: Faith Kim

“Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down. And trust your instincts … good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don’t hurt. They’re not painful. That’s not just with somebody you want to marry, but it’s with the friends that you choose. It’s with the people you surround yourselves with.” —Michelle Obama
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Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hi! My name is Faith, and I’m a Computer Science major at Smith College! I’m really into video games (Dragon Age, Oblivion, Undertale, Stardew Valley, etc), so I try to focus my studies on game development in school. I am a game programmer for GlowLime Games, an organization dedicated to developing student-led games. I also love watching animated short films on Youtube (one of my favorite is by CalArt Films called Omelette). Any artistic creation, be it video games or animations, make me feel very inspired about the beauty in life and how much happiness people could bring to others through their creative powers!

I’m also really into astrology (I am a Pisces Sun and Scorpio Moon) and love doing tarot readings for my friends and myself. I find peace with nature, so anytime I need to de-stress, I visit Smith’s gardens and forests (we have a nice lake called Paradise Pond that is surrounded by a lot of trees).

What # would define your life journey?
#livefreely

What I have realized for myself is that no matter how much I try to please others, no matter how much I try to conform to be accepted into my community, I will never be able to make anyone happy, and most of all, I will never be able to make myself happy. So, I’ve decided that I won’t conform nor will I follow the path of another person’s life; I will live my own life and make my own mistakes and learn from them.

Living freely could be as simple as spreading your arms out to feel the gentle warmth of the sun and the sweet and cool breeze of a wind, and you wouldn’t care if people stared at you for stopping in the middle of the street to do that. Or, it could even be challenging your academic institution, your professor, or your friends of their ideas that you disagree with. Rather than nodding along, you can voice your opinion gently, and say, “I actually disagree.” Life is too short to hold anything back. You need to get in there and do what you want to do (as long as it’s not harming others), and you need to feel the world around you with intensity as hot as fire before you leave this world, because such intensity does exist: the intensity of beauty, the intensity of love, the intensity of awe, the intensity of the feeling that you are just a small particle compared to the vast universe. I want to experience all of this before I have to leave this life.

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Favorite website / app:
Tumblr and Youtube!

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My best friends: they believe in my dreams and goals more than I do, and they give me the tough love to help me push forward.

Brianna Wu: Her prominence and leadership as a feminist in the game industry give me the courage and inspiration to pursue a career in tech.

Sam Luangkhot: she is the only prominent Smith student I know who is currently working in the game industry; her resilience and passion speaks volumes to me. She has given me so much advice and support to help me understand my true passion for gaming.

Song that makes you want to dance:
Pick Me by Wanna One! Their dance moves are so beginner-friendly and addicting!

Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
All my life, I’ve always sought self-worth and validation through my successes, such as through high GPA, high scores on AP exams, and through validations from my professors and co-workers. I loved myself only conditionally; I would reward myself with love only if I had succeeded, and if I had not, then I felt a sense of inadequacy in myself. I had especially felt this way about my major: computer science. I felt like I didn’t belong in the department because I was an amateur in the field. I needed to catch up to earn myself the “space” to be in the CS community.

However, I realized that none of these things matter. My GPA; my performance as a worker and student; whether I am “good enough” for the CS department or not; they simply do not make up the entirety of my life. This realization came when I wanted to learn to play the violin. I was horrible at it, but I loved the challenges I overcame as I tried to correct my posture and play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star for the first time. Despite the horrific squeaks I made while playing the violin, it was an absolutely rewarding experience, and I learned to be okay with my mediocrity, because what mattered is the experience and the fun I had while playing and not the actual results. Through my challenges with playing the violin, I realized that this is how I need to approach every aspect of my life: life isn’t simply about reaching the end goal, but it’s also about looking around and experiencing the beauty of the scenery as I walk the path to my goal. My self-worth cannot be determined by the results of my performances; my self-worth must come from an unconditional place, where I am allowed to make mistakes and learn from them while having fun. It’s okay to feel behind as long as I walk my own path. I am competing with no one; I am simply experiencing life to its fullest potential.

Ideal Job:
My ideal job is to work in the tech industry as a game developer. However, my end goal is to use my experience as an engineer to educate younger students about computer science; I want to show my students that anyone can be an engineer, and that computer science is more than just mathematics and machines; it is a form of art.

What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?

No matter where you come from or what background you have, it is never too late to start anything. This is cliché, but I’m going to say it: believe in yourself. No matter what your little voice says to you, either “I don’t think I can do this” or “This field is too competitive,” don’t believe a thing that voice says. From your view, it looks like you have to move an entire mountain, but as you come closer and closer to face those mountains, you’ll soon see that you are actually so much bigger than the mountains will ever be. You are unstoppable as long as you let yourself be unstoppable.

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