I value representing individuality in the midst of life’s hardships. Not letting go of your own desires and character is a sign of strength in its own way. Because of this, I look up to Liesel, one of the main characters of ‘The Book Thief’. Liesel is a young, spontaneous, and charismatic girl living in Nazi Germany during WWII. Her creativity and expressive personality is dampened by the world around her, and her love of writing and art is discouraged by the harsh social expectations the Nazis present her. I have faced similar challenges regarding hampered individuality, particularly in my chosen career path as it seems completely uphill. Liesel’s strong determination to follow her passions despite the oppressing reality she finds herself in is shining light in the dark unknown of the future. I was discouraged in following a career in a STEM field at a young age because I was told being female in the tech job department came with high risk of discriminatory situations considering women only make about 18% of Computer Science graduates. People painted my passion as a lost cause, and doubts began to cloud my judgement on my choice of careers. Would I not fit in because I am female? Would it be more difficult for me to get a job? Will I be discriminated against harshly? The answer is: Yes. I will face challenges in the workplace, in my journey, and in life in general. However, like Liesel, I rose above those disheartening messages and decided following my own wants and desires was more important than choosing the ‘easier’ path. To combat such thoughts, I even joined the organization Girls Who Code, which specializes in encouraging young girls into following STEM career paths in order to close the immense gender gap in the tech industry. I help young girls overcome the same fears I faced when expressing my career choice, and tutor others who have an interest in the study of technology. Similar to how Liesel motivates the other young kids around her to continue to make art, play sports, and write stories of their own in the face of Nazi threat, I encourage young girls to follow their own passion despite the threat of the discrimination to females. Following one’s own interest and in turn expressing their individuality is the key to a bright and successful future, and I will continue to motivate young girls to follow such a path.