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View Diary: Why pretty girls should join math teams (34 comments)

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  •  I was very good at math, but I could (12+ / 0-)

    not figure out what an engineering degree would do for me - or rather what I would do with one if I had one.

    It wasn't until I was in my 20s having opted for Art History rather than MIT, that I met some guys who had gone to RISD's product design school when I figured out that I had missed an opportunity to use my math abilities to create something other than a diesel engine (that was my perception of engineering).  That an computers which at that time were not interesting at all to me at the time - we learned Basic which I mastered easily, but loathed - computer technology at that time was taught out of context of what it would shortly become.  Mostly people sold it on the premise that they would replace people which I found unappealing.  

    Fondly enough, I was rather a snob about calculators - aside from the crazy square root stuff that obviously was easier with a calculator - most math equations were easy enough for me to do in my head - one of the few times I didn't get an A or above on my math tests was when I didn't show my work - my math teacher and I actually still laugh about the fight we had about my grade on that test because all of my answers were correct and I arrived at them correctly - but failed to show the process.  We made a truce which included me getting harder extra problems in my homework and on the tests that forced me to show my work.  I was actually happier being more challenged because I had been getting bored which is never a good thing for me.

    Anyhow, I loved math, but it seemed impractical to pursue it for my purposes because I am also creative and artistic.  I've landed in a business that requires both skills the math and the imagination and I get to "make stuff" which is very satisfying, but I missed out, I think.

    I am a girl, I was popular and pretty, but the geek culture wasn't really a factor one way or another for me - it was more about not knowing how much that would be in line with what I like doing I could have done had I pursued math as part of my higher education.

    •  art and engineering (9+ / 0-)

      The reason word processing got fonts when it did  is because Steve Jobs audited a calligraphy class. The creative, artistic aspects to engineering don't get enough attention.
      btw - MIT is now half girls. The students take advantage of many outlets for creative endeavors. When they have design competitions for housing or robots or whatnot, many are visually very elegant. It would be interesting to see if that is more the case as the number of girls increased, or it was always like that.

      •  I think that they did not have nearly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimene, kyril

        that high a percentage of female students when I was in the market for college.

        Also, I am not sure that the more creative outlets that they seem to have now at MIT are a corollary to the increase in female students - maybe there is one - all I really know is what I didn't know when I was trying to work out what to study and where was what kept me from going there.

        I used to say that I would have studied math if I could have been like Lewis Carroll, but that I couldn't figure out how to do that.  That view got reinforced by ending up going to school in an area that was heavily populated by IBM middle managers.  The people we encountered working at "big blue" were super dull and conservative.

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