Confessions of a Nerd

If you’ve followed the story of my suspension, it will come as no big surprise that I’m depressed. I’m really down in the dumps and I’m trying to cope.

Seeing as I’ve been making healthier choices, many of my tried and true dysfunctional coping strategies are out. Nicotine, alcohol and chocolate are all ruled out. I can’t resort to workaholism for obvious reasons. Of course I’m putting into practice healthier habits, like exercising (and contemplating a lawsuit against the cabrón that lied and said exercise worked better than medications to treat depression), writing, petting the whining dogs for stress relief… but I’ve recently discovered a source of comfort which I had not anticipated. Before you imagine naughty nerd confessions get your mind out of the gutter (or the dungeon).

In a fit of optimism (or delusion) I decided I’d work on some thesis research and spent a few hours downloading articles and reading policy legalese. I took notes, perused citations, looked up more articles… and guess what? I felt much better. Then I was looking up some other stuff, not school related but rather curiousity driven and BEHOLD, again, it was comforting.

Mind you, I am still wrestling with my fear and a mighty army of ‘what if’s but research really does make me feel better.

Which leads to me acceptance of the label pinned on me in 1st grade when I first walked in with glasses (I was so CUTE!) and which stuck since all the way through grad school. I’ve fought my inner NERD too long. I must embrace her. (No, it’s not the naughty part now either)

Even as a child, I think I understood pretty well what the label nerd meant. It meant Other. It was often coupled with weird, and ultimately it just drove home the point–you are not one of us. Nerds are not the majority. Such is life.

Even in College, where I naively thought people attended school to learn and grow and question, I have been constantly accused of caring too much, thinking too much and knowing too much. So, I shifted the focus to become more of a bohemian intellectual. But, ultimately, it’s the same shit. Maybe I wore cooler clothes but still, a nerd is a nerd. Whether I am at a poetry reading or at home under a desk light, fact is I’m a nerd.

I love reading. I love thinking about what I read, whether it be a potboiler I pick up in the grocery store line to distract myself, a goopy girly magazine, a textbook, one of the ‘classics’, or the advertisement on a flyer. I love to write. I enjoy writing papers. I actually like it. I enjoy doing research. I even enjoy such menial tasks as transcribing interviews. I like it. I still get the excitement I remember from kindergarten when I discover a pattern, read something clever, learn a new word. And, as logical extension I guess, I also love teaching and somehow trying to transmit the enthusiasm I feel.

I am never without a book. I am never without writing implements. Few things give me more joy than staying up all hours of the night with an entrancing book. I care about learning, I care very much about learning, whether in or out of the classroom. I invest time and energy into my schoolwork, not because of grades, but because of pride in my work, and because I care. This is also true of the work I’ve done in various fields. I face tasks with enthusiasm and commitment.

So, I guess I’m a nerd. Now that my academic career is in temporary flux, I take great comfort in that.

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Mandatory update: Are we there yet????

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