Back in 90’s when I played Atari’s River Raid for the first time, I was only four-five years old. I still remember how amazed and excited I was, controlling an aircraft like a pilot with those Atari 2600 Joystick Controller was a starting point to step in the digital world. Back then, I neither knew how computers worked nor did I know how they looked. Having heard a bunch of magical rumors, all I knew was that I wanted one. Given how pricy and luxury they were, there was no point of having one at such a young age, my parents thought. I didn’t give up though. Years later I saved money and bought one: a gigantic, noisy Windows 98 desktop with a monitor as large as our refrigerator. Being the autodidact that I was, I spent day and night delving into various programs and learning new things by myself even if my dial-up internet took days to download a simple program.
I immigrated to the United States when I was 20 years old, without my family members. I started school at Santa Monica College, in the beautiful city of Santa Monica and transferred to the one of the best public school in the nation University of California, San Diego. I studied my dream major, computer science and I can’t wait to enter the world of technology and make my American dream a reality. For me Silicon Valley is like Disney Land, an adult dream land! whenever I visit this part of California, I become the same 4 years old Ali who plays Atari’s River Raid. Excited, amazed and motivated.
“I believe, therefore I can,” is my version of Descartes’ infamous saying. Once I believe, I achieve regardless of the odds. It is in that sense – the sense of breaking away from the risk-averse crowd that fears the unknown – that ever since childhood, I’ve been the “odd one out.” When others simply mocked me and burst into laughter upon hearing my ambitions, I’ve always fought for and attained what I believed in.