Hi! I’m Smera. For those of you who may have skipped the About section, here’s a little recap: I got selected as an Outreachy Intern for Fedora, and here I’ll document all my experiences throughout the internship.

Since this is just the first post, I thought I’d introduce myself, so you can get to know my background and where I come from, and a little introduction about Outreachy itself (for those of you who don’t know).

I’m Smera (a fact I have mentioned too many times already), a 20-year-old student from Delhi, India. I’m currently pursuing a B.Tech in Computer Science and Design from IIIT, Delhi.

My core values are happiness and determination.

Happiness, for me, is the ultimate goal and motivator. I have spent a long time doing something I wasn’t happy about (this is my Superhero origin story, you could say). During the final years of my high school, I was studying something that did not interest me, and my grades suffered. My grades impacted my self-esteem, and that was a very difficult time for me. I had lost my identity, and didn’t have any sense of who I was.

In a sentence, it wasn’t pretty.

Enter college. I was lucky enough to get into IIIT. The course I got into was Computer Science and Design, an area that was right up my alley. Having been given a second chance, I dived into college with full determination.

Now I had developed a good work ethic in school itself (I thought, if I worked harder my grades would improve. Sadly that isn’t so straightforward, when you don’t have any interest in the area you’re studying), so in college, when I got to study subjects I actually liked, I started getting good grades, which in term fueled my determination. I started enjoying my studies, made a lot of friends, and genuinely felt happy. That’s when I realized that I had spent so much of myself in something that I didn’t enjoy, and how much I’d hate to go back there. That’s why, for me, happiness comes first now.

If I decide to do something, I give it my all. I realize the value of all the opportunities I get, and that’s why I go at them with full determination.
A lot of this played a crucial role in my Outreachy applications.

What is Outreachy, you ask.

To paraphrase Outreachy’s website, Outreachy provides remote internships to work in open source and free software. Internships are open to applicants around the world and interns are paid a stipend of $5,500 USD for the three month internship, plus a $500 USD travel stipend to attend conferences or events.

Outreachy internship projects may include programming, user experience, documentation, illustration, graphical design,  data science, project marketing, user advocacy, or community event planning. Anyone who faces under-representation, systemic bias, or discrimination in the technology industry of their country is invited to apply.

My roommate was an Outreachy alum, and she was the one who told me all about Outreachy and open-source. When I got to know about the motivation behind Outreachy, to support diversity in free and open source software, I was moved. As a woman in India, I have faced a lot of discrimination in the tech world, so I was glad to see an initiative to support people like me, and that’s why I decided to apply.

My next post will have more about Outreachy, the application progress (and the struggles), tips if you’re planning to apply for the next round and lot more.

For now, I think my overshared backstory and this little introduction should suffice.

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