The Best Mistake I Ever Made

Why a Girl Like Me Decided to Take a Class Like Autotech

Odeya Rosenband, Managing Editor

During the school week you can generally find me hugging a bright orange notebook filled with a million pages pouring out of the seems, and if you look closely,  my head will be somewhere buried within. In the halls, I’m probably planning my next Starbucks date with my friends, but your best bet is to find me at Wild By Nature, locked upstairs typing away. But at anytime,  if you took a peek into my thoughts you would be surprised to find them stuck in Technology Lab D.


Why would a girl like me take a class like autotech?


To be honest, my placement in autotech was all a big accident. In my sophomore year, I was going to have a ninth period study hall. And we all know how that would have gone… to say the least. And this was the only elective open. I’m not going to lie to you, I think I said “no way” from just hearing Mr. Sheridan mouth, “auto-”. My closet of pink dresses laughed.


About a week into my sophomore year, I was accompanied to the unfamiliar voice of Mr. Rogers say, “You must be Odeya. Welcome”, as the “must” signified the obvious: I was to be the only girl. I was also accompanied to unfamiliar jargon like “radiator” and “transmission fluid” that sounded like a foreign language. A mob of boys in football jerseys with lacrosse sticks, with saxophone cases and chess boards, had their eyes on the elephant in the room: me. At that point I was pretty certain Mr. Sheridan would be receiving a crisp, blue drop form in his mailbox… but I was wrong.


Sometimes, all it takes is a schedule mishap, a step (really more of a leap) out of one’s comfort zone to find a hidden treasure. Taking autotech was the best mistake I ever made.


While I admit I began shy, drowning in the sea of testosterone, I quickly learned to ask questions when I was uncertain. Once I understood the gravity of fixing somebody’s car, that in an indirect way I have somebody’s life in my I hands, I understood why I loved it so. Autotech was a completely different experience for me. It required a different part of my brain, it required me to get my hands dirty, and it required me to learn how to speak for myself. Especially as a woman, taking this class was an empowering experience more than anything.


What happened that year in Technology Lab D definitely did not stay in Technology Lab D. The array of hands-on, engineering-intensive skills I was taught in that class come with me to my AP chemistry and physics classes too. As an InStar student in Ward Melville, the project I have been working on for the past two years, that I plan on submitting to the Regeneron competition, definitely would not have been possible if I didn’t take that course.


There’s a lot of stereotypes that go along with the type of people who take this class. That girls like me wouldn’t and guys who like video games would. And unfortunately, this is what I had thought too at first. But we, if you think this way, could not have been or could not be more wrong. Autotech is for everybody.


And that’s why you should take it. Because in some way, the lessons taught in this class apply to you too. I walked out of this class learning more about myself than I did anything. Soon, I became fluent in mechanic jargon and I still feel like that classroom is my second home.


Leaping out of my comfort zone was worth some visits to the infirmary. Autotech became the best mistake I ever made. It changed everything for me.