Saturday, March 10, 2012

So Wrong...

....and happy to be.

The morning (almost) all girls class was great and will be challenging in just the right way, I think. And the afternoon class was even better. There are four of us taking both classes and I have thematic overlap in my project with a couple of them and stuff to learn from the others.

Something that took me by surprise was how excited I got listening to what everyone else is working on this year. Totally thrilling! Everyone really wants to be there (this isn't really a year you sign up for unless you want to be doing this, at least on some level) and that shows in the class participation. I am guessing it will show in the quality of the various presentations that take place throughout first semester.

But lots of work! I was right about that. Some pretty scary deadlines looming ahead and the main challenge for now is to pick the right thing to write about for the big research papers due at the end of June. 

I'm ready for this though. This is why I used my summer effectively and why I did so much preparatory reading. I'm ready.

It also helped that the mentor loves what I have so far. My Honours excitement level is through the roof.

First day = major win. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I’ve never been a girls’ girl. I have 3 brothers, a father who is a much more forceful personality than my mother, and guys have been my friends basically since I was old enough to select my own company. I didn’t become close friends with a girl until I was in my twenties and even then it took a while. (This is one of the reasons that school was so miserable for me, it was all girls and, almost always, female teachers.*) I am, quite happily, one of the guys in most group settings.

I was in our nation’s fair capital a few weeks back to attend a couple of amazing exhibitions that were well worth the trip and one of the perks was meeting up with several very close friends (all male but one) who live and work there.  It was great, we all went out to dinner and caught up. And I was comfortable. For some reason I feel safe when it’s like this. It’s the same when I am with my country gang (who are all currently evacuated thanks to NSW flooding) – I am safe and loved and understood.  When I’m at a party, I always gravitate to the guys, who can often be found outside while the girls talk in the kitchen, a phenomenon Lyn has talked about before.

There are exceptions to this rule. On the same trip to Canberra I went to a party where I only knew the couple taking me and ended up having the two most interesting conversations of the night with women. Progress! Of course the main exception to this rule is all of you; I’m fairly confident any one of you who is a regular reader is a woman and I couldn’t feel more a part of this wonderful online community. But the fact remains that in person I still pick the guys. It’s a comfort thing.

Except tomorrow morning one of my seminar classes starts and it is an all girls class with a female teacher. This seriously makes me want to throw up. It’s a small class, it will probably hold steady at about seven of us, plus the teacher who is an unknown quantity. It is a threatening scenario, in my eyes, and I am deeply uncomfortable at just the thought of it.

The catch up dinner in Canberra? The one other female at the table is a good friend and I was excited to see her. But I was thick enough to express to her my concerns about this class and why. The response I got was hardly reassuring: ‘That’s really stupid, Moz.’

This friend is not usually unkind. In fact she is a really nice person who gets on well with everyone and about whom no-one has a bad word to say. Especially other girls. I doubt she has ever sat in a room full of people and felt out of place on a regular basis. So perhaps she wasn’t the best person to express my concerns to. But the fact remains that I am worried sick about this situation and what it means for two hours every week. Just today Emma talked about being back in class and being a good student, something I have never mastered. I am always surprised when anyone from class becomes my friend, because I think I can be a little difficult in the classroom, mostly because of how out of place I felt growing up. Did people dislike me because I had all the answers and wasn’t always delicate? Or did I become like that because no-one at school liked me? Cause and effect? Post hoc ergo propter hoc? Who knows, but it remains that this class has me by the balls and it hasn’t even started yet.

Maybe this is really stupid. Maybe if I was in a class room full of all of you guys it would be different. But for now I won’t be sleeping tonight - damn anxiety.

In other news I am banning myself from making a porn related joke for a week. They’re just too easy.

*Single sex schools are much more the norm here, at least at high school level. I went to all girls’ schools for 12 of my 13 years of schooling.