I was a really focused person. I didn’t pay attention to the people around me with all the interfering psychological elements of being a part in a group, except when I had to show some manners like when I was revising some of the concepts of that Advanced C++ class after the lecture: there was me and a guy (who wasn’t a friend at the time) and we were separately experimenting with the clunky Visual C++ 6 IDE, way before .NET, there was a girl sitting shyly with a smile looking at me and doing nothing. So I decided I will just keep her company since she so politely asked for it. The other guy joined the conversation and then I’ve let them enjoy it and got back to what I was doing. I really enjoyed that class and I’m not recalling some interesting moments.
Dr. M A, let’s call him so. He was an enthusiastic lecturer and I enjoyed his class. After the class finished I kept meeting people who were very interested in me (I thought it was because of some superficial reason) and then I would realize that they have taken that class with me. After a while I thought that interestingly, my behavior in that class wasn’t so common and commanded lots of respect from all those people that I don’t even remember (since I was so focused-but unfortunately I missed on many relationships that might have proven to be interesting).
I was the accurate kind. In one lecture the professor was giving an example when he said “let’s say we have ‘Seen’ [the Arabic letter that corresponds to ‘S’,] the ASCII code of which…” that’s when I interrupted (some of the lectures had a more casual interactive format) saying: “You mean Unicode, there is no ASCII for ‘Seen’”. He smiled saying that is if I want to keep track of such subtle matters and continued. I felt satisfied.
The lectures continued through the semester and one day he was late. So I’ve written on the computer which was connected to the projector something blaming him for being late. I was just joking, with the professor with whom I felt I started to become friends. But when he saw it, he got upset and decided to punish everyone saying that he is the one in charge of the lectures and no one had authority to blame him. I think he thought it was disrespectful. Feeling guilty, I was waiting for him to finish to apologize. And when he said that he was going to punish everyone by taking off marks, I stood up and said that I am ready to take responsibility for what I have done. He asked me to sit down, ignoring my admission.
I saw him after the lecture and I asked him why he didn't take it simply as a lighthearted joke. He told me that people here (in the University of Jordan) were the kind that takes the opportunity to disrespect and the kind the schemes and talks behind one’s back. There is rarely pure and simply honesty here. I apologized and we remained on good terms. It was easy for me, someone who loves what they study, to get along with his professors.
He also gave me one of the most important social interaction advice that took me years to understand: “dealing with people through layers of indirection, or interfaces.”
Now going back to my colleagues, I think they admired my readiness to admit and face the consequences. Another clue of having the incident attracting attention is one guy’s remark saying that the blame should be on the person who did it even after I have admitted it (the professor insisted on punishing everyone) and it was obvious who that guy to blame was. I don’t like to deal with people who just like to make provocative remark and my response was just mere short eye contact.
BSc times, I had to do lots of maturing up…