Coming Into Your Nerdiness

Most people think college is the time to grow out of all your weird high school quirks. Did you ever imagine college would be the place you grow into them? For me high school was always about what the cool kids were doing. What clothes did they wear? What did they do for fun? What could I do to fit in with the cool kids?

And sure I still had all my nerdy quirks. I pretty much discovered the world of YA fiction in 11th grade after I finished the Hunger Games and started reading way too many books way too fast (something I had not done since Twilight in 8th grade). My friend Sarah and I loved to see all the Marvel movies as they came out because we both loved super hero movies.

I had always been obsessed with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings from an early age, but I had never really let my “fandom pride” show before.

And then I went to college.

My first semester of college I started watching Game of Thrones and was immediately obsessed. But none of my friends watched it so I never really talked about it. This was the year I discovered “Booktube” on youtube. Polandbananasbooks became a staple for me and I took all my book recommendations from her. I liked reading books she had videos on because it felt like I finally had someone to discuss them with; someone who understood. Now I wasn’t a loser of a total shut in if that’s what you’re thinking.I went out, drank, had 3am pizza and did all the fun “college things” and honestly enjoyed it. I had new friends but they just  had 1 new friend who also loved LOTR so we could nerd out about it a bit, and another who liked superhero movies. But it was my sophomore year of school that I was able to grow into my proud nerdiness. All my friends at school knew how much I read and I can’t say any of them felt the same or read any of the books I did. But it was when I joined a sorority that I finally found my people.

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Now I know what you’re thinking “you found your nerdy people in a sorority?” but it’s not what you think. It was a community service sorority so it had a very eclectic group of people. With all the new people to meet people they set up powerpoint where everyone can make a slide with their name, hometown and interests so we can meet people and find potential bigs/littles. So I searched for people in my major, people from my home state and met them. But then I noticed a lot of people put GOT on their slide under interests. So I decided to meet people who liked that. And the first one I met ended up becoming my big. I would text her after every new episode on Sunday because I didn’t have anyone else to talk about it with.

Well flash forward to my activation, I get a paddle that says The North Remembers on it with the Stark Direwolf on it. I’m now a part of the Harry Potter Family so I get all sorts of Harry Potter themed canvases. I was finally starting to feel like I could let my inner nerd shine around my new big Jess.

Now flash forward again to next year and now Jess and I are really getting to know each other. We go see Mockingjay Part 2 together at midnight. She wears a mockinjay shirt and pin to the movie plus puts her hair in a katniss braid. I had never dressed up for a movie premier before. But I decided to dress at Katniss too. I put my hair in the braid and cut out a gold mockinjay pin out of cardboard before we leave. My pinterest is going crazy. Avengers, Supernatural, LOTR, GOT, Outlander, and now Sherlock pins all the time. Anything funny pins about being a fangirl too. Plus any pins for my favorite books (throne of glass, PJO, TMI, TID).

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I was taking lots of big steps. I stopped hiding my inner nerd and started using it as a topic of conversation. I saw a girl I sat with in class reading on her phone, looked at it and immediately asked “are you reading Game of Thrones?” We went on to discuss it for the rest of class. I saw a girl I was studying abroad in New Zealand with had the hobbit as her computer background and immediately got into a discussion about how much we love LOTR and how excited we were to see some of the filming locations in New Zealand. While I was in New Zealand my big Jess read The 5th Wave, which I told her to read when we saw the trailer during Mockinjay 2, so we could go see it together. She did and then proceeded to ask me for more recommendations. We saw it together the second night I was back in the US and I thoroughly enjoyed having a nice discussion about it.

As spring semester started up I connived Jess to watch Outlander, but the agreement was only if I watched The 100. So we watched both pilots together. I then proceeded to go home and watch the first 8 episodes of The 100 even though it was a school night. I was hooked. Suddenly I found myself pinning everything Bellarke, blowing through the books (and being disappointed) and reading Bellarke fan fiction because I NEEDED Bellarke. I was obsessing because when things aren’t happening the way I want them to (cough cough last book in the Heros of Olympus Series also resulted in much fanfic). So I was obsessing and didn’t really care. And then something wonderful happened.

It was time for me to find a little, so when the slides of the new girls came out the first thing I searched was “The 100” just to see if anyone put it down as a TV show they liked. I got 1 hit and I was immediately sold. Not only did this girl have The 100 on her slide, but she has Sarah J Maas. Not Throne of Glass, or reading or books; Sarah J Maas. I was dead. This girl was willing to put it out there that this was what she liked. I edited my own slide to include titles of books I liked, including throne of glass in hopes of catching her eye.

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Eventually she texted me and we got lunch. We gushed over Sarah and she told me she’d gone to meet her twice. We talked about supernatural, sherlock, game of thrones, the 100, outlander and all the books we loved. She recommended books to me and I did the same for her. We ended up talking for two hours. Later that week we went to the bookstore together so she could buy the second Outlander book. I ended up buying Queen of Shadows. Now up until this point I had all my books on my kindle but suddenly I wasn’t ashamed to have this book in hard copy in my room. I went home and bought the rest of the throne of glass books off amazon and proudly displayed them all on my shelf.

Suddenly I was wearing my neediness like a badge. Me, Jess and Emily were watching the 100 together on Thursdays, Outlander on Saturdays and Game of Thrones on Sundays. Emily got Sarah’s tour schedule for A Court of Mist and Fury and we drove 3 hours into Pennsylvania to meet her at a little bookshop in Doylestown. There I was nervous at first but the second we sat down we were chatting with total strangers about what we loved about her books, and other books we liked and book tubers we liked and I felt so comfortable.

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The next weekend I was at the bookstore and decided to pick up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I had heard great things about it and lets face it, I’m a Fangirl and I am proud. And I’m loving it. While Cath has way worse anxiety about things than me, I can totally relate to her personality and it’s only helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

Now it’s big little week and I’m getting all the nerdiest gifts possible. And you know what, I’m totally fine with it. I got one of those Pop Figures of Jamie Fraser and he is proudly displayed on my bookcase.  I got photos of Bellamy, Jon Snow, and Jamie with my face cropped in and I was quick to put them all online with the caption “me and all my boyfriends”. Something in me has shifted. And now I know my upcoming themes for big little week are going to be super nerdy and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I finally feel like I’m ready to share this side of me publicly and I feel I can truly say I’m coming into my own.

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