For some reason jupyter notebooks never work the same as kaggle kernels for me. I want to use kaggle kernels but the downside is I don't know how to make it read from a file on the computer like a regular jupyter notebook
No, you cannot write a Kaggle kernel that will read your local data directly.
The best you can do is upload your data to the kernel. See https://www.kaggle.com/docs/kernels#adding-data-sources