It’s the end of my first year studying mechanical engineering, and the end of my first year in a new city by myself.
So much has changed that it seems trivial to mention each way, but the sum of these changes is greater than their individual parts.
I have been so busy with school and work that I just don’t even have time to spend being racked with insecurity before taking action or asking for what I want.
I’ve learned how to ask questions when I don’t understand something, because I have basically been forced to if I want to pass my classes.
I’ve learned that everything gets easier with practice and experience, including things like asking questions and working in groups on engineering projects.
I’m still struggling a little bit with going to office hours. The setting is unstructured and involves a lot of casual chit-chat, and the idea of making a fool of myself keeps me from going to one-on-one sessions with my professors. I’m not good with some basic social interactions, like knowing how to end a conversation, how to exit, or how to start, even.
Conic Sections are beautiful
I completed some projects related to trigonometry and emailed my professor about one of them. She seemed enthusiastic, but email is not her method of communication, she asked me to explain after class, but I just never did. Of course, I would rather email because I can structure my thoughts and not worry about how to deliver those thoughts outloud.
A sundial I made using arctangent and the latitude of San Francisco
My boyfriend has Aspergers. When we first started dating we had friction because he felt like I was cold and kept him at a distance. I felt shocked that he would say that! I told him that I had never felt as passionate about a person as I felt about him, and that the strength of my emotions made me feel out of control! I have realized that I tend to build walls with people because I don’t like feeling vulnerable. I don’t communicate what I feel. I’m a brick wall. He was surprised that I felt so strongly about him (and maybe dubious). During our argument he made a comment to me about me being “aneurotypical.” I had to ask him to explain what he meant. He was the first person I had ever met with autism and I didn’t know much about it. I don’t think that I am autistic, but I can recognize myself in some experiences I have heard autistic people give since that conversation.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve been driven to action since my decision to move across the country and start my engineering education. I accomplished a lot. I got an internship at NASA this summer. NASA is my dream job. It feels insane that I’ve gotten this opportunity. It took a while for me to really believe it was true. In response to my trepidation my boyfriend asked me, “Are you excited?” and I answered, “Yes, but I feel like an axe is about to drop.” I felt like it was a trick and the rug would be pulled from under me. But…it’s really happening!