I received my first science textbook in the fifth grade—Mr. Lane's class (I had a very inappropriate secret crush on him, and was crushed by the news of his marriage, but we can discuss that at a later date). The school I attended was rather financially challenged, so before the fifth grade, our textbooks had to be kept in the classroom as we'd have to share them with other students. I had never really been interested in those books though. But science. Holy smokes!
"I can take this home?" I asked overly enthusiastically, whilst the sneers of my classmates could have cut me like a knife.
I read the entire book in one night. I had zero interest in joining my family for dinner as I was so engrossed, learning about chlorophyll, arthropods, and the real name for poop (feces-which I embarrassingly pronounced 'fekes' since I'd never heard it spoken; a common problem among autodidacts). Yet, I continued to be encouraged to be a court reporter or office secretary. My entire f'ing life. And I wasted a lot of time in offices, behind desks, answering phones.
I am on the autism spectrum (didn't know that until 2010) so I am not at all a social creature, nor am I tolerant of noise (unless I am in control of it-then blast away!). So the sharp typing of keys, constant chattering, and ringing phones my mother dealt with at her office would drive me to hide in a coat closet with a book and a flashlight, or in the warehouse to study the functions of the machines.
I wish I’d had the encouragement to pursue my passion in science as a child. It made me come alive like nothing else. I am still fascinated by it, especially science of the brain, and of plants, and how similar everything really is when broken down. And believe if I'd had the encouragement as a little one, I'd be a scientist today. We must get behind these young girls! (And support any child, boy or girl, in pursuing their passions, not our own!)