Monday, June 30, 2008

The Big, Bad, Blog Swap: The Hidden Advantage to Studying Electrical Engineering

This post written by guest blogger Confused as a part of the 20SB blog swap. Enjoy!
(I'm over at her place if you want to find out why I'm resisting rehab...)
Growing up, I was shy. Ok, I still am shy, but not even close to how shy I used to be. It was painful. I believe the following (completely true) story illustrates that fact rather well.

I must have been about 13 years old when I had to change schools again (we moved quite a lot, and it really didn't help with the shyness), this time in the middle of the school year.

On the first Monday morning, the teacher introduced me to the class and then announced 'There's a space free next to Lukas, you can sit there.'
My heart sank. Sit next to a boy? How scary!
Head down, I scurried to the desk in the corner of the room, mumbling a 'hello' to this Lukas person without looking up.

Over the course of the next week I made friends with most of the girls in the class and tried to make myself disappear when any of the boys were around (as I said, painfully shy). Then, in a PE lesson in my second week, I was sitting at the side with one of my new friends, chatting about who was going out with whom while we waited for our turn.

Suddenly I noticed this good looking girl I'd never seen before. I pointed her out to my friend, asking whether she was also in our class.

Can you tell where I'm going with this?

The confused look she turned on me when she revealed the horrifically embarrassing truth:

'What do you mean? Over there? Lukas? You've been sitting next to him for two weeks! :-S'

Please ground, swallow me up RIGHT NOW...

(Yes, I thought he was a girl! The guy looked seriously female! Not my fault...)

So, you get the extent of my shyness. I didn't even look at the kid I sat next to the whole term I went to that school... (Except for the time I lost control of my pen and splatted ink all over his pristine notebook, but that's a different story.)

When eighteen-year-old Confused declared she was going to study Electrical Engineering, a course which boasts 5% female students, everyone reacted the same way: 'I know why you want to study that. All those young men...' Wink wink, nudge nudge. In fact the opposite was true: I barely dared enrol for fear of all those scary males...

Thank goodness I did manage to screw up all my courage and go through with it. It's a fascinating subject. But not only that, it also had one huge unanticipated benefit. Taking a five year course where 90% of the students are guys (there were a record 10% girls in our year *g*) forces even the shyest girl to learn to speak to guys as though they were simply normal people. (I know, I know, they are normal people (more or less *g*), but I'd never have admitted that 6 years ago...)

The best part of this is that it extends to all guys, even hot guys! I've got a lot of friends who get horribly nervous around hot guys. I don't have that problem!

Last week I met this really cute guy. No, that's understating the case. He's totally hott! The first time I met him, he was in a t-shirt, baggy shorts and flip flops. Very hott. Oh dear, I seem to be getting distracted, trying to think up adjectives to describe this guy, but coming up blank other than hott. What does this tell you? He's brain-scramblingly hot ;-)

Anyway, my point was that at the time, I was fine, I managed to talk to him normally (obviously postponed the confusion to now). I even managed to look at him ;-)

And then we had a meeting and he turned up in a suit and tie.
And I still managed to talk and behave like a normal, sensible human being. No stuttering, no blushing, not even missing parts of the conversation due to Hot Guy Syndrome. Ok, once I phased out, but once doesn't count...

None of this normal interaction would have been even vaguely possible before university. So hurray for immunisation through exposition to large numbers of (more or less geeky) guys over a period of more than five years! It really does work :-D

PS: It also corrupts, as evidenced by the fact that I find 'exposition to .. guys' to be worth a snigger. I'm no longer the innocent little girl I went in as ;-)

PPS: Go check out Ashley's great post on my blog!


  1. Ah the joys of growing up! Great post!

  2. I LOVE the Lukas story. It reminds me of the time my friend Mandy in high school asked me if I'd seen the really good looking singer of the band Elastica - "he's gorgeous" she told me . . .

    As I recall the lead singer of Elastica was called Justine . . .

  3. I was pretty freakin' shy during my youth too.. blah.

  4. I was shy, too, and totally didn't grow into myself until college. But isn't it nice when you do?

  5. I was shy too and still am!! Although, not as bad as it used to be!

  6. Yeah I'm actually pretty shy around guys too. I clam up and say something in appropriate. I still do.

  7. i'm so upset my interent has been down.. I wanteds to Blog Swap!!!!! :(


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