Sasogeek posted this note in OpenStudy Feedback and we were really excited to read it. Preetha then blogged about it and we reached out to him and asked him to tell us his story. He wrote us an open letter and we wanted it to share it with you all. Today he has entered his YouTube video for a NASA competion. Any colleges out there listening to this 12th grader?
You may wonder how out of the blue, I decided to post that comment. But even if you did not wonder, my story should explain it all.
My name is Samuel Sowah Mensah, but it is of my first two names that I derived the nickname “saso” and the addition geek is just because that is who I am. I am in 12th grade in a school in Ghana, far away from OpenStudy. I would love to go to a college in the US, and am working very hard to achieve that dream.
Seven years ago, my brothers and I had our first computer and it was a good old CRT monitor and a Pentium 4 Dell system. The only time I had used a computer before this was about 2 hours a week in school during the ICT class, a couple of years ago. The internet was a new thing to me, but out of curiosity, I wanted to know more about how the computer worked because using it was fascinating and interesting. One day I found that I could search for anything I wanted to know on the internet and find answers. So then I began to save money during the week, and spend it all in an internet café, to gain more knowledge about computers. All this while, I was only a mediocre student at school, though wasn’t doing too poorly.
So two years later with my own personal laptop, I had the whole machine right in front of me, all for myself, but no internet! I felt I could learn all I wanted at the comfort of my home anytime I wanted- if I had internet. So I convinced my parents to get us an internet connection at home and from then on, began learning, bit by bit, about computers. I developed a passion for becoming a computer scientist because every bit of information I consumed about computers at the time was just fascinating. What intrigued me most, was how programs work as well as how the internet works. They both seem to follow the same pattern of work flow, which was to follow instructions. So here was what was cool, I get to tell the computer what it should do and it has no choice but to obey me. What was cooler than that? So I jumped to the opportunity of learning how to code programs and build websites from scratch.
With this newfound passion, and obsession, my school work was going downhill. When I did realize this, I began to wonder whether I could use my knowledge of the internet to my advantage and to improve my grades. This was when I discovered OpenStudy.
How did I find OpenStudy? My interest in studying computer science led me to MIT’s OpenCourseWare Introduction to CS Programming course and OpenStudy’s logo invited me to me to study with others! Lo and behold, it was an OpenStudy chat, and Owlfred welcomed me and helped me. That’s where it all began!
Since joining OpenStudy, I came to develop an interest in the pure sciences (especially physics) and mathematics; these were two subjects I previously hated with every bit of blood flowing through my body! Now I have the confidence that when I come across a problem in math and science, I will have a fair idea how to solve it. I know I have probably seen something like that on OpenStudy, and that some one may have asked something similar. I also feel that since I have expressed my solutions to problems either in class or on OpenStudy, I have helped other people, but most importantly, I have helped myself.
I was looking back to the beginning of this year, and thinking of how OpenStudy just came to play an important part of my life, how it gave me a new perspective on learning, and how much it reduced my fear of facing difficult questions. I thought I should just put it out there about how much I appreciate OpenStudy, so I did. I posted this on OpenStudy Feedback. Then you noticed, and I even appreciate you more because you took it upon yourself to write a blog just about my comment. Once again, thank you. Thank you to the OpenStudy team as well for making learning such a wonderful game. I have found helping others to be fun and entertaining, and I have found that I also learn as I “teach.”
One day, with the help of my friends from all over the world, I hope to become a wonderful computer scientist and an amazing web developer!
-Samuel Sowah Mensah