I grew up in a very religious home, including going to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I went to a small Christian school K-12th grades, which eventually led me to go to one of the few Christian colleges that was highly encouraged in that environment. Truthfully, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I thought appeasing my teachers and my peers was the right thing to do at the time.
Despite realizing midway through my junior year of college that this was not the path for me, I ended up sticking it out and graduated with a B.A. in Biblical Studies. As you can imagine, the amount of job offers was incredibly overwhelming (i.e. zero). Like many graduates, I could only ask, “What the hell do I do now?”
I had a few odd jobs here and there. I even tried to join the Navy, but I broke my thumb, had to have surgery, and was told it would be another year till I could re-enlist. Putting my life on hold wasn’t super appealing, so I decided to move out to Colorado, somehow stumbling into the hospitality industry as a reservationist/revenue analyst. Thankfully, I quickly grew into a management position, and a few years down the road became and area director of revenue and an assistant general manager with both independent and branded hotels. As I grew into this role and gained more experience in the hotel industry with both revenue and operations management, I began to understand my strengths (and weaknesses) in the workplace along with what I truly enjoyed.
Whether it was making pricing decisions, determining sales and marketing opportunities, establishing budgets, or project managing two property management system cutovers, I was analyzing data to make business decisions on a daily basis. I loved that aspect of my job, and knowing that was my passion, I wanted to learn more about how I could improve those skills. I also wanted to pursue education that expanded across multiple industries, potentially opening a world of opportunity to grow my career.
Eventually, data science came up in a conversation with family, and to be candid, I had a very limited knowledge of what data science was at the time. The subject immediately caught my interest, so after some research, I found Flatiron School’s self-paced online program. I decided to leave my most recent position and pursue school full time. Being just a few months in, I can say it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I am by no means a data scientist yet, but I will be, and the idea of learning something new every day excites me.
I write this amidst a global pandemic in which there is a plethora of uncertainties. It’s easy to worry about pretty much everything, including the unbelievable lack of toilet paper everywhere, so I’m beyond thankful that learning data science is my diversion right now. It’s possible you need a distraction from worrying like I do. I wouldn’t necessarily encourage everyone to study data science, but I hope this inspires you to take the time to do something you love and to learn something new while we’re social distancing.