As a young girl, Hidai loved problem solving and math. During her sophomore year of high school, her advisor encouraged her to take an introduction to Python class. At the time, she had no idea what coding was, but she soon found out it was something she enjoyed. Her passion for computer science classes through the rest of high school led her to select it as a major at MIT. However, when she got to MIT, she started feeling imposter syndrome. To counteract this, she leaned on her support system back home and found a community at MIT, aiding her in quieting that negative voice in her head.
“Getting into MIT is my proudest moment. The year leading up to it was probably the hardest of my life. Junior year of high school, my mom’s cancer returned, and the summer before my senior year, my grandma passed away suddenly. This was around the time that everyone was worried about college, and I had no idea how the application process worked. I didn’t even know that people studied for the SATs until a week before I was supposed to take mine.
So, I was figuring out how to apply to college on top of stepping up my role as big sister. I never felt alone, and that was what helped me get through that year. My parents have always encouraged me to dream big. They immigrated from Mexico in pursuit of the American dream, and it always pushed me to work harder because I knew what they sacrificed. So, getting into MIT wasn’t only for me, but something that made everyone around me proud. Many happy tears were shed that day.”
Source of inspiration: Her parents. Even though they don’t fully grasp what being a software engineer is, they have never let Hidai feel discouraged. They immigrated from Mexico in pursuit of the American dream for their children. This has, as a result, pushed Hidai to work even harder to make them proud.
Book Recommendation: How Women Rise by Marshall Goldsmith and Sally Helgesen