She is both attending and working at 42 Istanbul: at 21, Nur Çağla Kahrıman is a go-getter, not afraid to learn new things every day.
What were you doing before 42?
I had limited coding experience. I played basketball and chess, and dabbled in self-teaching Python. I faced a decision between going to university or 42. I realized that in the technology field, self-improvement is key regardless of the educational path. 42 and the people here are better than at the university, offering a more conducive environment for skill enhancement.
Why did you choose 42?
It was because of its culture and mindset. Throughout my life, I’ve always been drawn to different things and didn’t find traditional education to value my other interests, such as art, basketball, and sports. To me, 42 is a free space where there are no teachers, and the only motivation is your own excitement towards computer science. I liked the fact that it was up to me to succeed or fail, and I appreciated the opportunities they provided, like free internet and computers.
How did you hear about 42?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I was deeply involved in playing chess and participating in tournaments as part of a team. During one of these tournaments, I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of a private school who was passionate about chess. We connected, and he offered me a scholarship due to my interest and success in chess. After graduation, we continued to stay in touch, and one year later, he sent me the link to 42 Istanbul, recognizing that it could be a great opportunity for me. I immediately applied after doing my research. At the time, I was in my village near the Black Sea, and I remember solving the games amidst the noise and distractions of a room filled with people. Passing those games was a significant accomplishment for me at that time.
Do you have any fond memories from your Piscine?
To be honest, I would willingly go through the Piscine again and again! Despite being challenging and exhausting, it was incredibly rewarding. It was a unique experience where you don’t know what to expect. You’re not familiar with the system they use to evaluate you and determine if you pass. I remember staying for the entire duration of the exams, whether it was four hours or six hours because I was determined and genuinely enjoyed the process. I have a vivid memory of the final exam when we were given a 10-minute break on the terrace to get some fresh air. As I gazed at the mountains and surroundings, I wondered why I hadn’t solved a particular problem yet. But then suddenly, it clicked, and I went back in and solved it. I was so happy!
As you are both learning and working at 42 Istanbul, what is your advice to your fellow students?
Not everything should revolve around 42! It’s easy to get consumed by the program and spend every day here, even outside of the Piscine. You see the same people, code every day, and it feels like you don’t have a social life or other interests to distract yourself from 42. Unfortunately, this can sometimes make people overly aggressive and take things too seriously. For example, if you make a small mistake on a project, it shouldn’t be treated as a reason for failure. So, take it easy!