Code to Success

Sonnet Xu, who got into Stanford, tells how she found her passion in high school and gives advice.

Sally Kim, Staff Reporter

High school is a time for exploring different passions and activities. Senior Sonnet Xu, a semifinalist in the nation for the United States Presidential Scholars Program, will be attending Stanford University to pursue a career in Computer Science. 

Throughout high school, Xu explored different activities to find her passion. In her freshman year, she joined the Robotics team and discovered that she enjoyed programming. She spent her extra time during the COVID-19 pandemic studying machine learning, and in her sophomore year, Xu founded the Machine Learning club to share her knowledge with others. She also invited some professors to talk to Troy High School students about machine learning during the summit she held. She also said involving herself in the STEM community led her to understand that there’s a community there for her and other girls. 

All these experiences led her to find her dream major, Computer Science.

“I think for me, figuring out that I wanted to do computer science was really about getting hands-on experience that allowed me to find the significance of learning at school. The reason that I chose CompSci is because I had the most experience with it,” said Xu. “I think all of those different experiences let me see how computer science can make changes in people’s lives and inspired me to pursue Computer Science.”

Xu expresses her excitement for entering the Computer Science Program at Stanford.

“College is a chance for me to develop a more fine sense of myself. In college, there’s a lot more experiences that I didn’t have [in high school]. I can do more research, [have] more global experiences, travel, meet new people, work with the industry more.” She says. “I’m just excited to form new relationships that I think will really take me where I want to go in my career and my life.”

As she leaves Troy High School to start a new path at Stanford University, Xu gives other students advice for finding their own passions: “If you want to try something, don’t be afraid to try it. Don’t believe anyone when they say you can’t do anything or if it’s too hard, because only you know your limits.”