It’s OK to be nerdy, my Padawan learner

Oct. 31, 2011

Molly Mrazek
mmrazek@uccs.edu

If you were to apply to work at Zappos.com, you would be asked a question in the application that is a little out of the norm. They ask you to rate how weird you are on a scale from one to 10. They are usually more likely to hire you if you rate yourself about a seven or an eight; nine or 10 is too weird and anything below a five is just not weird enough.

I believe that everyone has a nerdy side; everyone has something that they’re a fanatic about, something that is a guilty pleasure for them. Whether you’ve read all of the Harry Potter books, seen all the Star Wars episodes, read and seen every Twilight, there are numerous opportunities in this world to be a little nerdy. And why not be a little nerdy? That’s what makes you different than the person sitting or standing next to you. It’s what makes you unique.

When I was a kid, I used to watch Sailor Moon. If anyone remembers the show, it was Japanese animation about a preteen girl with powers to fight evil with her group of friends named after various planets. Also, when I was in the 4th grade, Pokémon was a huge craze: collecting the cards, watching the show as you were eating Lucky Charms before the morning bus came. My dad even made my sisters and me our very own light-sabers out of a rod of wood and some metal hardware (I think he wanted boys). Let me tell you, the sound of wood whacking together was a lot more satisfying than hollow plastic.

You see, when you’re a kid, you’re allowed to appreciate things like Anime without being labeled as being part of a specific “group” of people. Also, your imagination is a lot more active; you think that Lord of the Rings is brilliant, you play with light-sabers with your friends. There’s so much more freedom to be nerdy when you’re a kid.

Stumbleupon.com is a wonderful time-suck but also a great resource. Just the other day I read an article about “Lightning Fast Speed Dating.” Instead of just asking the normal questions of “What do you do for a living?” and “Where are you from?” you can now add, “What kind of nerd are you?” to the mix of a three minute conversation.

What a wonderful way to get all that out of the way from the get-go instead of finding a Sharper Image light-saber and Storm Trooper costume (which I would personally love to play with) in the closet of the guy you’ve been dating for three weeks. As you are sitting reading this, I am likely gallivanting around Universal Studios’ Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where I plan to nerd it up by taking pictures around the park with various elements from the movies. I may even come back with a t-shirt. My nerd weakness is exposed and I don’t feel badly about it at all (you may have also noticed my weakness for Star Wars).

I’m glad you’re all aware of my nerd weaknesses now, because if you wanted to be my friend then hopefully you would be accepting of the things that make me different. In fact, everyone should be accepting of everyone’s differences. Welcome to college, where everyone is dressed differently instead of wearing the same jeans from Hollister or the same hoodie from Abercrombie. It’s no longer cool to fit in; it’s cool to stand out.