The Evolution Of The Definition Of Nerd Is Interesting

The Evolution Of The Definition Of Nerd Is Interesting

What defines a nerd now, and what defined a nerd before.

In the last ten or so years, well ever since the existence of "The Big Bang Theory," there's been a new fascination with nerds.

When I was growing up in the 1990s, the nerds were the kids who were smart, the kids who the popular crowd cheated off of during tests. At other schools, nerds were the ones constantly bullied and manipulated.

Popular movies of the time gave all nerds certain looks and characteristics. Nerds wore glasses and metal braces. They had a wardrobe full of polyester, wool, plaid, and suspenders. They used pocket protectors. They had no social skills. With the onset of movies like "American Pie," nerds could now be male or female. However, last but not least, nerds were always white and they retained that label for the rest of their lives.

It wasn't until about five years ago that people of color started identifying themselves as nerds as well. We had Steve Urkel from the TV show "Family Matters," but he was often described with every other adjective but what he was: a nerd.

Currently, black nerds are different in that they claim the nerd identity for being smart in one subject. For example, a black person who reads large quantities of comic books as a child now calls themselves nerds.

The definition and presentation of a nerd have changed. The longevity of being a nerd has changed as well. One can trade in the nerd title once they achieve success in STEM fields. They are then known as their field title instead of being coined a nerd. However, for those who don't find commercial success because of their knowledge are still nerds.

I think one reason for the change in definition is time. As time passes the meanings of all words change to reflect a new generation. I believe the other reason for the change is the new generation themselves redefining a word that left them out of its original definition.

With the word nerd, I believe both forces are at play. The arrival of the 21st Century changed the meaning of many long-held definitions. In the 1960s and 1970s, we had Squares. Those puritan straight-laced kids from movies like "Pleasantville" and "Cry Baby" who upheld the status quo no matter what.

Then the 1980s and 1990s came from Nerds. Showcased in movies like "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," and shows like "Saved By The Bell." The 2000s brought forth Introverts. Smart people who spent their lives bullied by the popular kids until we started writing inspirational books like "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" and get high powered jobs to justify the social rejection we always faced.

No matter how one comes to be a nerd, nerds have taken over popular culture for a change. Every superhero movie that comes out? A nerd created those characters. Every show that comes out? Marketing Execs slaved over endless numbers to satisfy the payout. Every Doctor that treats you? Had their noses buried in books to get that far? Nerds are everywhere.

The only questions now are what kind of nerd are you, and what will you be called 20-40 years from now.

Cover Image Credit: Godisable Jacob

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8 Struggles Of Being 21 And Looking 12

The struggle is real, my friends.

“You'll appreciate it when you're older." Do you know how many times my mom has told me this? Too many to count. Every time I complain about looking young that is the response I get. I know she's right, I will love looking young when I'm in my 40s. However, looking young is a real struggle in your 20s. Here's what we have to deal with:

1. Everyone thinks your younger sister or brother is the older one.

True story: someone actually thought my younger sister was my mom once. I've really gotten used to this but it still sucks.

2. You ALWAYS get carded.

Every. Single. Time. Since I know I look young, I never even bothered with a fake ID my first couple of years of college because I knew it would never work. If I'm being completely honest, I was nervous when I turned 21 that the bartender would think my real driver's license was a fake.

3. People look at your driver's license for an awkward amount of time.

So no one has actually thought my real driver's license is fake but that doesn't stop them from doing a double take and giving me *that look.* The look that says, “Wow, you don't look that old." And sometimes people will just flat out say that. The best part is this doesn't just happen when you're purchasing alcohol. This has happened to me at the movie theater.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things People Who Look 12 Hate Hearing

4. People will give you *that look* when they see you drinking alcohol.

You just want to turn around and scream “I'M 21, IT'S LEGAL. STOP JUDGING ME."

5. People are shocked to find out you're in college.

If I had a dollar for every time someone had a shocked expression on their face after I told them I'm a junior in college I could pay off all of my student loan debt. It's funny because when random people ask me how school is going, I pretty much assume they think I'm in high school and the shocked look on their face when I start to talk about my college classes confirms I'm right.

6. For some reason wearing your hair in a ponytail makes you look younger.

I don't understand this one but it's true. Especially if I don't have any makeup on I could honestly pass for a child.

7. Meeting an actual 12-year-old who looks older than you.

We all know one. That random 12-year-old who looks extremely mature for her age and you get angry because life isn't fair.

8. Being handed a kids' menu.

This is my personal favorite. It happens more often than it should. The best part of this is it's your turn to give someone a look. The look that says, "You've got to be kidding me".

Looking young is a real struggle and I don't think everyone realizes it. However, with all the struggles that come with looking young, we still take advantage of it. Have you ever gone to a museum or event where if you're under a certain age you get in for a discounted price? Yeah? Well, that's when I bet you wish you were us. And kids' meals are way cheaper than regular meals so there have definitely been a couple times when I've kept that kids' menu.

So, all in all, it's not the worst thing in the world but it's definitely a struggle.

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Collins

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How Growing Up In A Culturally Diverse Environment Changed Me

We are all human.


I can proudly say that I am from Montgomery County, Maryland, more specifically from the city of Gaithersburg. According to a 2018 study by WalletHub, three of the top 10 culturally diverse cities in the United States are located in Montgomery County. Those cities include Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Silver Spring.

I have lived in Montgomery County ever since the day I was born. Growing up in such a culturally and economically diverse area has educated me with the value of accepting differences. Since I was exposed to an assortment of cultures at such a young age, I hardly ever noticed differences among my peers and I. The everyday exposure to various cultures taught me to embrace diversity and look beyond appearances such as the color of someone's skin. I was able to open my eyes to other ideas, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

Ever since I was a child, I was not only taught to welcome different cultures and ethnic groups, but I was always surrounded by them. From my elementary to high school years, every classroom was filled with racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity. Coming from someone apart of the Caucasian race, I was often the minority in school. Not everyone is as fortunate to experience such a multicultural society.

Since being from Montgomery County, I have grown up as a person with an open mind and strong values. Diversity has not only taught me to be more mindful but has also helped me become more of a respectful person. Learning about other cultures and backgrounds is essential to help societies strive, but experiencing it firsthand is something that no one can teach you.

After being in countless culturally diverse situations, I have been provided with many lifelong advantages. I was taught to be inclusive, fair, and understanding. I am able to be comfortable and accepting of all cultures and religions. After growing up in such a culturally diverse environment, I now develop culture shock when I'm not surrounded by diversity.

Our world is filled with numerous different kinds of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions. Being raised in a diverse environment has prepared me for what the real world looks like and taught me exactly what equality means. As I was growing up, I was always taught to be nonjudgemental of others and to embrace all individuals for who they are.

Diversity molds our identities. Every individual is unique, but each of us shares at least one trait — we are all human. Who would rather experience a homogeneous society, when they could constantly be learning about other cultures and building diverse relationships? When growing up, I never realized how impacted and truly thankful I would be to of had the opportunities to experience diversity each day. So here is a long overdue thank you to my parents for choosing to raise me in such an incredibly diverse place all of my life.

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