10/14/2013 05:22 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Problem Solver

I am who I am but I know what I can be. The solution to the big problem. The savior of the people. The thinker. That's what I see myself as. The guy who can solve any problem. But that was not the case in my early childhood. I was born into a setting where one problem could stall people from moving forward for an unreasonable amount of time. Where people seemingly fought to make sure that the solution to the problem was not found or not applied to fix the problem. This was through excuses, lies, and arguing about why that solution would not work even though it wouldn't have hurt to give it a try. This environment led me to believe that it was as bad as a sin to not get it right the first time or that after you tried once and didn't succeed there was no solution to the problem. But deep down, I felt that that was not the right way and that society would not be able to function if it had that philosophy.

So I started to read books. To me, books held all the answers to my biggest questions. Why is the sun so important? What causes the seasonal changes? Why does the sun rise in the East and fall in the West? Who founded the United States? My thirst for reading filled my mind with volumes of data that lead people to start to call me intelligent and an intellectual. Even with all this praise, I still felt this void within my mind that I could not seem to get rid of. I became a hermit during the summer before high school. I stayed in my room and read books that covered a variety of subjects. After all this, I still felt this void within my mind that seemed to have transformed into a black hole. Then one day while roaming my school library I found an interesting looking book: Plato's Republic. I took it home, read the first book and BAM! My mind switched gears. I was introduced to the idea that I could think through different problems, no matter how intricate, and use my mind to find the solutions. You might be sitting back and calling me stupid because you've been doing that your whole life without a problem and that it seems very simple, but with this book I learned a method of doing this.

Right around the same time I was told of an after-school club called ScriptEd. It was a club for people who wanted to learn computer programming and right away I was interested because I'd always wanted to learn but I had never had the opportunity. The first few classes were pretty easy as we just went over the basics of programming with different languages and the whole concept behind it. But as time went on I was presented with a vast array of problems. At first I feared these problems because their solutions used both logic and math. But as time went on I gained confidence and became more comfortable with the idea of solving complex problems. With the help of our great volunteers I learned three programming languages: JavaScript, CSS and HTML.

Going into high school I did not expect to learn these languages. I didn't know of any programs that taught different programming languages and I did not have money to be able to pay a tutor or take classes that taught these languages. If not for ScriptEd I would not have been able to apply the methods of problem solving I learned in Plato's Republic nor would I have learned computer programming, which has allowed me to explore my imagination and build worlds with it.